The Standard Life GB women secured their first win under head coach Damian Jennings, thrilling the home crowds with a 73-64 win over Israel at the British Basketball Invitational Tournament at Surrey Sports Park.
The GB side made sure of the win with a 14-4 run inside the final five minutes, thanks in part to Stef Collins and Rachael Vanderwal, who led GB with 12 points apiece.
Jennings was happy with his first win, but insisted the game was more about seeing how much progress his side had made, he said: "I thought we made some great growth defensively and that was one of the detail areas we wanted to look at. It wasn't just about the win in fairness; that was a good the bonus.
"I think we did a good job tonight in the way we set up our defence; you saw that particularly in the last three minutes, we were able to create possession for ourselves from that."
Early defensive pressure by GB kept Israel to just two points for almost seven minutes, but a pair of three-pointers by Liron Cohen got Israel going but they trailed Great Britain 15-10 after the first quarter.
Another three-pointer from Cohen got Israel off to a great start early in the second and the game was then tied twice, at 15-15 and 17-17.
Londoner Ella Clark's jumpshot sparked an 11-5 run to put GB up 28-22. After Israel cut the deficit to 28-26, GB responded with Clark scoring four of their final five points for a 33-28 lead at the half.
Vanderwal stood out in the third quarter scoring nine of her overall 12 points. She also made a great play by stealing the ball for Collins to score and convert a free-throw to give GB their biggest lead at 54-41.
Israel cut the deficit to 56-48 heading into the final quarter and the visitors then went on a 12-3 run to lead 60-59, before Great Britain hit back to take the win.
Joint top scorer, Stef Collins commented on the victory: "It was a good start for us, this being only our third preparation match, so heading into EuroBasket it was a good test for us as Israel is such a high calibre team in Europe. With what we put on the floor, both defensively and offensively, we are starting to flow and get a nice chemistry together and that is something we can build upon."
Tomorrow Great Britain will play their 100th game as they take on Germany (tip-off 17:00), who lost their opening game to Greece, 61-42 earlier today.
Jennings added: "We know the Germans very well, they know us very well and we seem to play each other every single year in training. I imagine it will be another tough game, but very different to today's."
February 06th, 2017: British Basketball has secured £1,000,000 of National Lottery funding, from Sport England, to support the delivery of its programmes this year, including its campaign at EuroBasket 2017. The funding will help ensure the Great Britain team receives the preparation it needs, when it competes at EuroBasket 2017 and will provide vital support for other programmes over the 2017-18 funding period.