16 Sep 14
You would be hard pressed to find a player in any Great Britain programme who rose to the fore more during this past summer than Rachael Vanderwal.
GB head coach Matt Johnson was pleased with the determination and effort from the team: "We are immensely proud to say that we have now got our first win in an incredibly tight tournament against a physically imposing Romanian team.
"In an excellent response to being 15 down in the first half we showed the character and willingness to fight that we had lacked in previous games and were richly rewarded with a string of defensive plays that GB Basketball has started to be known for on the women's side.
"I would not normally single out individuals for praise but the focus, desire and determination of our captain Rosie Hynes today really helped us to navigate a tricky end game. It is special to me as Rosie deserves this victory and it signifies another step in the right direction for her and the programme. Shequila Joseph gave a performance that was punctuated with aggressive one-on-one offence, rebounding at both ends and courage to make the shot on the buzzer to top off an excellent night.
"Although we are not satisfied with letting other games slip away, this game has certainly cemented a number of these young women as players capable of playing and winning in the end game."
Romania shot an impressive 80% from the field in the first quarter and led 19-8 at one stage, with Alexandra Dumitrache and Ana Grigore each contributing two from behind the arc. In the second period, GB picked up their intensity at the defensive end with Leah McDerment leading the way with five steals. GB showed great determination to claw back at the first period deficit and held Romania to just six points in the second leaving them with just a one point lead, 38-37, at the half.
GB found themselves in foul trouble early on in the third period and gave Romania numerous second chances. Paxton and Joseph combined well at the offensive end though to keep their team in the game. An 18-14 third quarter in favour of Romania took them into the final period leading by five.
Britain trailed through all of the final period, but remained in touching distance and with 1:22 to go GB captain Hynes was sent to the line and made both to cut Romania's lead to two. Followed by a defensive stop, Hynes missed a jump shot at the other end but Joseph found herself under the basket for the put back. With the teams tied, it looked as though Romania would have the last possession and with the shot clock counting down, Dumitrache released the ball from behind the arc which hit the rim and rattled out. Melita Emanuel-Carr chased down the rebound and found Joseph who with just three seconds left on the game clock hit the game winning shot.
The GB team were understandably elated after the victory which saw them move out of the bottom spot in the table. A determined GB team will not be settling with one win and will be searching for a second victory as they play Portugal in their final game on Sunday (16:15 BST).
For full box score please click here.