21 May 13
British Basketball has today confirmed that Standard Life GB women's player, Temi Fagbenle, will not be joining the team for their EuroBasket Women 2013 campaign this summer.
After sending the game to overtime, the teams levelled the score at 77-77 with seconds left. But, France's Celine Dumerc drained a clutch triple with two British vests bearing down on her to seal the win. With 0.2 seconds remaining, Chantelle Handy attempted to match the three but unfortunately couldn't get the shot in time for the buzzer.
Jo Leedham led all scorers with 29 points and eight rebounds, shooting 40 percent from the field. She was supported by Natalie Stafford who got 18 points and dropped all her free throws.
Understandably, Leedham looked emotionally drained afterwards but was adamant that GB will finish on a high.
"It was a good game," Leedham said. "They're really tough and strong but it's a tough loss. It's kind of hard for us because we want to win so hard especially for the fans but they are a really good team and we have to be proud of ourselves.
"We have got one game left and we're going to get that win."
Despite defeat for coach Tom Maher, a man who has a huge amount of Olympic experience, he was proud of the effort and passion his side displayed.
"We came here to be a respected basketball team, to say that Great Britain now plays basketball and I thought we played really hard," Maher said afterwards.
"France is always a top team, so for us to be able to play at the Olympics in overtime and have a top player to beat us with two tough shots, it would be lacking perhaps a degree of sensibility for me to say that it was a terrible loss because I think my players played really well."
Julie Page got Great Britain off the mark with a hook shot inside as the Olympic hosts started on a 6-0 run before Dumerc got France off the mark. GB though started with more promise and deserved their early advantage.
France responded though and tied the game at 8-8 thanks to Edwige Lawson-Wade but Rose Anderson connected for three to give Britain an 11-8 lead which they would not relinquish for the remainder of the first quarter as GB led 13-10 going into the break.
Stafford opened the second quarter as Great Britain looked to attack the French in the early stages of the period. A bucket from Leedham extended the Brits' lead to 17-12 with 6:00 minutes left in the half.
France though regrouped to take the lead at 21-19 due to a coast-to-coast lay-up from Sandrine Gruda, but Kim Butler answered right back to tie the game at 21-21. However, it was the French who ended the second quarter stronger, as they led 27-23 at the half.
Great Britain tied the game in the third through free-throws from Leedham, which ended a 6-0 burst as France hit their next two shots to lead 40-36, but thanks to Leedham again, the Brits hit back to tie the contest at 42. However France managed to close out the quarter just ahead leading 47-44.
The fourth was an intense back-and-forth battle full of physicality and passion. Stafford, Leedham and Butler, who got 12 points off the bench, hit in a 6-0 GB burst that gave them a 54-53 lead.
The hosts thought that they had the match won when Page nailed a three to send the crowd into raptures, and the cause was helped further by Leedham as she hit a tough lay-up in traffic and kept her composure to sink two foul shots to give Britain a 67-62 lead with 1:56 remaining.
Dumerc though had other ideas, as she sunk a huge three with 9.3 seconds left in regulation to end the game to overtime.
And it was Dumerc who had the last laugh to seal the overtime period with seconds remaining to break the hearts of the 8,000 fans inside the Basketball Arena with a huge three pointer.
Dumerc had 14 points for France, but they were led by Gruda and Lawson-Wade's 16 points personal.
"It's disappointing," Page said afterwards. "We beat them a couple of weeks ago in Sheffield and really felt like we had a good chance tonight. It doesn't come down to the last minutes, it comes down to a lot of little things before that so we have got to keep improving. We have things we have still got to work on and we need to iron things out."
Great Britain end their historic Olympic adventure against Brazil on Sunday night, 10:15pm tip-off.