Russia Too Strong for GB Senior Women in Moscow -

Russia Too Strong for GB Senior Women in Moscow

A dominant second quarter from Russia ensured a comfortable 75-48 victory over Great Britain in the first of two internationals in Moscow last night, Wednesday 29 May.

The games, being staged ten days before the start of EuroBasket Women’s 2nd Qualification Round, were always expected to provide much stiffer tests for Head Coach Peter Buckle’s team than in previous preparation games. So it proved and a 22-8 run for Russia in the second quarter ended up being decisive, despite 11 points and 9 rebounds for Temi Fagbenle.

In speaking to after the game, Head Coach Peter Buckle commented;

“Russia are tough, they’re always going to be tough because they have a good understanding of basketball and they have a lot of experience in that group. It’s good for us though to play against these sides and experience a different style from what we’ve seen against Germany and Italy. They’ll use the ball well if you allow them too and it’s up to us to channel our defense.”

Temi, currently studying at Harvard University, was part of an unchanged starting five for GB alongside Stef Collins, Rachael Vanderwal, Erin McGarrachan and Azania Stewart. The two teams were meeting for the first time since Russia’s 67-61 victory at London 2012.

Coached by Anatoly Myshkin for the first time, Russia’s players were intent on impressing him as they moved into a 14-5 lead in the opening five minutes of the game. Better rebounding was the key to their early success, with Stewart and Dominique Allen picking up two fouls each. However, GB continued to hustle with Ella Clark making the lay-up and Allen converting one from two on the line to keep GB within eight points at the end of the first quarter,10-18.

But Russia increased their stranglehold on the game with a dominant second quarter. While Fagbenle had two early layups, five further points from Helen Naylor were all that GB had to show for their efforts before the half-time break. In contrast, the home team struggled to miss with two successive threes from Anna Petrakova and Olga Arteshin setting the tone. Russia’s 42-21 lead looked imposing at the mid-way mark.

Buckle’s players found their rhythm in the third quarter and with that gritty defense we are used of seeing from GB, they won the quarter, restricting the Russian team to just 15 points. Two three’s came from the hands of Nicole How and then Collins to at least stop the margin growing with 56-36 the score at the end of the period.

Russia again powered further clear after the break, with just two from Stewart for GB in the first half of the final quarter. With five minutes remaining, Russia extended their lead to 27, showing little of the form which saw them go out of last year’s EuroBasket Women at the very first stage.

Temi Fagbenle continued to impress for GB in this game and was just one rebound away from a double-double (11 points, 9 rebounds) against some very tough opposition.

The team will practice again in Moscow this morning and prepare for their second game against Russia which will take place this evening, Thursday 29 May at 15:00 (BST).

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