GB Women Take Down Serbia to Complete Lyon Tournament -

GB Women Take Down Serbia to Complete Lyon Tournament

Great Britain Senior Women signed off their participation at the Lyon Tournament in real style after collecting a fabulous 62-53 success against Serbia.

GB made it two wins from their three outings on French soil after taking down their EuroBasket Women 2015 Group C opponents, who are one of the frontrunners for Final Round next month.

The win was founded on some outstanding defence down the stretch, when GB stopped Serbia from scoring for the last five minutes of the contest.

GB also benefitted from a range of scoring contributions, including 17 points from Temi Fagbenle who once again stood out – although it was Chantelle Handy who really shifted through the gears when it mattered most and she finished with 13 points and a near double-double after grabbing nine boards.

“Chan was great and her experience shone through even though she has had to move from the three spot and into the four position,” said Stef Collins after the victory.

“She has such versatility and hit some big shots in the second half which gave us the momentum we needed to take a win.

“This victory is a good sign and a positive step forward for us, since it gave an indicator of the level we need to play at.

“We know we can be competitive in any game, but we want even more than that.

“Our defence was aggressive and we showed the discipline needed to get those stops late in the game and we really focused well on securing the possession of the ball.”

Playing without Nicole How, Steph Gandy or Azania Stewart, GB made another rock solid start and some fine defence helped contain a dangerous opponent who have regularly jumped out on teams in the past.

While Serbia moved ahead after the opening exchanges, an excellent 9-2 finish to the first quarter witnessed GB take a 16-13 lead, with exciting prospect Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott dropping a triple along the way.

When Collins also converted from long-distance early in the second quarter, GB extended their lead to six points and it got even better when Fagbenle continued her rich vein of form with a basket establish a double-figure advantage at 28-18.

Serbia came back into things and narrowed the deficit ahead of the interval – although GB still held the lead at 31-29 and that was mainly due to a sterling team effort which saw eight different players get onto the score-sheet.

It was Serbia’s turn to crank up their defence when the action resumed after half-time and with foul trouble mounting for GB, they were able to move seven points ahead.

However GB rallied and helped by a downtown score from Rachael Vanderwal, made sure it was still a one-shot game at 44-41 heading into the last quarter.

Another basket from behind the three-point line, this time via Handy, tied the game up early in the fourth period and the same player ensured it was still level heading into the last five minutes at 53-53.

GB then showed their defensive quality as they locked down Serbia for the remainder of the game, while nine points at the other end of the court helped to wrap up a welcome second victory in as many days.

“It was a tough battle and our third game in row at the tournament – something which is great preparation for EuroBasket Women when we play four in a row,” reflected Head Coach, Peter Buckle.

“Both teams had bodies missing, but it was a great battle and just what we needed at this stage, since we gave plenty of players minutes and everyone got an opportunity.

“It’s a nice thing that people are stepping up too, with Temi yesterday against Slovakia and Chan today in this one as she certainly made some big shots.

“However, it is always going to be our defence and possession focus in games like this and once again we showed that we really do relish a battle.”

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