- National Teams
London Lions have missed out on qualifying for the EuroLeague regular season, despite beating DVTK 72-73 in Wednesday’s second leg.
They overall 135-121 loss on aggregate means the British side will now join compatriots Caledonia Gladiators in the regular season of EuroCup instead as they enter the competition for a third successive year.
Holly Winterburn led the way with an all-round effort of 27 points – including six threes – as well as five rebounds and four assists, while Megan Gustafson added 20 points and seven rebounds.
Gustafson was inserted into the starting lineup and made another encouraging start with six early points for London in what was a cagey opening. The introduction of Temi Fagbenle was a welcome sight after being helped off late last week and a pair of free throws edged London ahead at 9-10.
Back-to-back triples from Kat Snytsina and Karlie Samuelson pushed the Lions up by five on the night, though the overall deficit remained in double figures.
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Winterburn hit a triple early in the second before DVTK responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead at 27-26. Gustafson moved into double figures with a three – London’s fourth of the night to match their total from the first leg – as London moved into a 29-33 advantage at the break – down 11 on aggregate.
Another three from Gustafson gave London their biggest lead of the contest, only to see the home side hit back with a decisive 15-0 run to take the lead and quell any hopes of a comeback.
Juicy Landrum – who finished with an 11-7-5 line – stopped the rot at the midpoint and Winterburn began heating up with three triples in quick succession, but London found themselves 56-49 behind at the end of a costly third period.
The Lions had too much to do, but kept fighting to get the win on the night: Winterburn had two more makes from beyond the arc in a late burst along with a decisive drive inside the final minute.
In the EuroCup regular season, London will face familiar opposition having been drawn alongside Castors Braine and Rutronik Stars Keltern – opponents from previous seasons – as well as Portuguese side GDESSA Barreiro.