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Friday, December 3, 2021

GB women lose to Greece in opener


GB were beaten by Serbia in the EuroBasket Women 2019 bronze-medal match

Great Britain’s women began their EuroBasket 2023 qualifying campaign by losing 73-66 to Greece in Manchester.

Karlie Samuelson led GB’s scoring with 14 points and Shanice Norton added 12 on debut as starting forward Temi Fagbenle sat out with a knee injury.

GB, with two new caps and four other players with less than 10 international appearances, had some good moments but never looked likely to take control.

The team’s next qualifier is on Sunday, when they take on Estonia in Tallinn.

Only one team is sure to qualify from each of the 10 groups. Only four second-placed teams will also qualify.

Greece led for almost the whole of the first half, with Artemis Spanou and Maria Fasoula taking advantage of former WNBA forward Fagbenle’s absence close to the basket to give their side an early 16-12 lead.

Norton became a factor in the second quarter, driving for a two and then hitting a three-pointer, which Samuelson then added to, to keep the hosts in touch.

Spanou remained a problem for GB’s interior defence even after Samuelson gave GB a 38-37 lead with her second three at the start of the second half.

An 11-1 run propelled Greece to a 56-45 lead at the start of the fourth quarter and although GB’s Holly Winterburn, Georgia Gayle and Chantelle Handy hit a run of four three-pointers to briefly seize the momentum, an unlikely three from Spanou with 1:44 remaining all but ended GB’s chances.

“We’re now in the process of developing a new team,” said GB head coach Chema Buceta. “We need to give the new players more experience in games like this. The positive thing is that we were able to fight to the end.”

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