The Standard Life Great Britain Under 20 Women came up short in the fourth quarter against Italy at the European Championships on Saturday in Debrecen, losing 69-58 in classification Group G.
The defeat came despite impressive double-doubles from two of GB's young stars, with Jessica Hurd grabbing 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Erin McGarrachan notching 14 points and 13 boards.
The result means that Frans Griffioen's side will end up in 16th place, regardless of the outcome of their tournament finale against Portugal on Sunday.
However it gave Italy the victory they needed to secure their place in Division A next summer, using a late burst to see off brave Britain who went toe to toe with their opponents for long spells.
The Italians opened up with an 11-4 run but McGarrachan inspired a quick rally with Cheridene Green converting a three-point play to draw GB level late in the opening quarter.
And their best spell lay ahead with Hurd sparking a burst of eleven unanswered points as the Italians were held scoreless for almost five minutes as Britain surged 30-21 clear with 3:51 left in the second.
But a 10-2 reply helped to cut the deficit to 33-31 at half-time and amid a tight third quarter, Francesca Dotto inspired a 6-0 run that took Italy ahead for good.
GB - who won the game's rebounding battle 43-30 - trailed 47-45 at the outset of the fourth but an 11-4 burst from their rivals sealed their fate.
Dotto had a game-high 23 points for the Italians, whose triumph condemned Latvia to join already-relegated Portugal and Britain in Division B in 2013.
The Standard Life GB women's side played their first games together this year against Belarus on 12 and 13 May and new coach, Damian Jennings, is pleased with the progression of the team after the first few days of camp.
Standard Life GB men's and women's basketball squad captains Drew Sullivan and Julie Page are back in London this weekend to promote the legacy aspects of the BBL Foundations work through Proj3kt 3on3.