GB Senior Women Routed by Spain -

GB Senior Women Routed by Spain

Great Britain Senior Women continued their preparation for EuroBasket Women Final Round next month with a 70-41 defeat against reigning champions Spain in Logrono.

It was always going to be a tough test against a team that not only won EuroBasket Women two years ago in France, but also competed against the USA in last year’s gold medal game at the FIBA Women’s World Championship.

Playing without the in-form Temi Fagbenle who is in the States for her graduation at Harvard University and Steph Gandy who is resting an injury, GB did at least welcome Azania Stewart and Ella Clark onto the court for their first action of the summer.

And it was the latter who shone most brightly as the forward finished the contest as GB’s top scorer after plundering 13 points and adding six rebounds, on her return to the country where she played her club basketball last season with CD Zamarat.

The game was also a notable occasion for the long-serving Stef Collins, who racked up her 125th cap in the encounter.

She also opened up her account on the night with a big triple as GB kept pace during the early exchanges – although Spain quickly showed their class, with FIBA Europe Women’s Player of the Year Alba Torrens regularly punishing GB on the fast-break as the hosts moved into a double-digit lead at 26-15 early in the second quarter.

Some nice play from Clark kept GB within touching distance and there was also a much needed first score of the summer for Stewart just before half-time, but Spain had moved 42-25 ahead by the time the teams reached the locker rooms at the break.

After minutes for Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott prior to the interval, the second-half also saw court time for U20 colleague Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby and while trailing 57-30 heading into the final quarter, GB’s position was improved by successive triples from Eilidh Simpson and Collins.

However Spain put their foot down on the accelerator once again to ease further way during the closing minutes, as they underlined their billing as the frontrunners to bag the first spot for Rio 2016.

Despite the loss, head coach Peter Buckle was upbeat and happy his team had taken on the favourites.

He said, “It was a good workout for us against the second best team in the world.

“We welcomed back Ella [Clark] and Azania [Stewart] for their first minutes of this summers’ programme which was really pleasing.

“Ella was out due to illness during our first tournament and even though she played well tonight, she’s still catching up.

“It is important that we all learn from the game as we do every time we step onto the floor.

“You have to play the best to improve and to help get where we want to be before EuroBasket Women starts.

“Spain are a really intelligent and athletic team and this experience will help us in the growth of our own game.

“We now look forward to another big test against Canada,” added Buckle.

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GB will play the second game of the tournament on Friday 29 May against Canada at 18.00 (UK Time).

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