GB UNDER-20 WOMEN NARROWLY DEFEATED AS LITHUANIA CLINCH LAST MINUTE WIN
5 July 2014 10:00am
By British Basketball
GB under-20 women suffered a heart breaking 60-58 defeat to Lithuania on Day 2 of FIBA European Championships.
Following a thrilling opening win over Norway on Thursday night, 3 July, the under-20 women suffered a heart breaking 60-58 defeat at the hands of Lithuania last night, losing out in the closing minutes of the game.
It was a closely fought game from start to finish but in the final minutes, Lithuania's Zelnyth hit a three with 22 seconds remaining to give her team the lead and her team-mate Tamasauskaite converted three from four at the free throw line to ensure Lithuania the victory.
There were standout performances from GB's Shequila Joseph who had a game-high 14 points and seven rebounds with fellow team-mate Cheridene Green leading with nine rebounds and 12 points.
Head coach Peter Buckle was still positive after the narrow loss and in good spirits ahead of today's game against hosts Bulgaria:
"It is disappointing to come away with the loss in such a tightly contested game but we were in a very tough, tight and physical game against the Lithuanians.
"We had to many turnovers in the first half but we did an excellent job in the second half of not throwing the ball away, distributing well and we gave ourselves every chance to win the game.
"Our tempo and running game is growing, our rebounding is becoming more consistent and we are looking forward to bringing that and much more to the game today against Bulgaria."
Great Britain got off to a strong start with Joseph opening the scoring on the back off a strong offensive rebound. Lithuania edged out in front as both sides traded baskets and it wasn't until the final two minutes did GB level the game when Claire Paxton set Joseph up for a big three to tie things up, 11-11.
Joseph followed up with conversions from the line and Hannah Peacock followed suit to leave GB leading by two, 13-15 at the end of the opening quarter. However the tables were turned in the second quarter as a steadfast Lithuania worked well on defense and held GB to just eight points, leaving GB trailing by five, 28-23 going into half time.
GB came back strong in the third quarter with valuable contributions from Peacock and Melita Emanuel Carr who both scored six points each and two crucial free throws from Megan Lewis within the last thirty seconds of play edged Great Britain back into a one-point advantage, 40-41 going into the final stretch.
Lithuania's lead scorer Matuzonyte opened the scoring in the final quarter putting the opposition back in front, but GB produced some fine offensive displays which included a vital three pointer from Whitney Allen to bring her side level, for the fourth time in the game at 48 each mid-way through the quarter.
Both teams struggled to break the stalemate until Zelnyte put away a three pointer following two missed free throws by GB with 22 seconds remaining and both sides on team fouls. However, GB refused to drop the heads and Janice Monakana showed nerves of steel as she put away two free throws to bring GB within one point within the closing seconds.
However Lithuania made one from two from the line, which proved to be the final blow for GB who finished the game at 60-58 in what was a tightly fought encounter.
GB will take on hosts Bulgaria this afternoon, tipping at 16:15 (GMT).
Great Britain women's head coach Peter Buckle has been reflecting to gbbasketball.com on a summer which not only saw him clinch a spot at EuroBasket Women 2015 with the senior team, but also pick up the reins of the under-20 women for the first time.
Following a successful inaugural European Championship campaign at Division-A for Great Britain under-20 men that resulted in an 11th place finish, gbbasketball.com recently got the opportunity to catch up with Head Coach Douglas Leichner to reflect on the 2014 tournament, playing in A-Division, the players and the future.
The Great Britain women's programme has been handed a significant boost after marquee player Johannah Leedham confirmed with gbbasketball.com that she can't wait to return and spearhead the challenge for a place at the Rio Olympics in 2016.