Great Britain clinch EuroBasket Women spot in style
Basketball

Great Britain clinch EuroBasket Women spot in style

21 November 2018 / 22:46
Great Britain secured their place at EuroBasket Women 2019 in emphatic fashion as Rachel Vanderwal's 21 points steered them to an 83-42 win over Portugal.


That was enough to top their qualifying Group D, ahead of 2017 semi-finalists Greece, and secure a place in next year’s competition in Latvia and Serbia.

It was also the perfect send-off for Azania Stewart, who managed ten points and eight rebounds on her final appearance for Great Britain before retirement, earning praise from coach Jose Maria Buceta.

He said: "I think this is a very happy day, because we reached our goal, but in a way sad, because this is Azania’s last game. It’s great to get a win and now we look forward to EuroBasket in 2019."

Victory over the Greeks last time out had put Britain in pole position to top the group, ahead of this clash with bottom side Portugal, but just eight points had separated the teams when they met in February.

There was never any danger of a close game here, with Britain dominant from the off, opening up a 20-9 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Vanderwal was the catalyst, shooting five from five deep while Jo Leedham also chipped in with a double-double.

Leedham managed 18 points in addition to 12 rebounds, seven assists and four steals in a fine all-round display.

 

The lead was 33-19 by the half, and Britain then poured it on in the second half, Temi Fagbenle finishing with 17 points along with Stewart's contribution on her farewell appearance.

She added: "I’m really happy, it’s hard work that we’ve put in over the last year and step-by-step.

"Coach has told me 5-1, that’s great for us moving forward into EuroBasket, but personally I’m just so happy to be home and all my family and friends can come and support me and the team."

Just as crucial on the night was the British defence, holding Portugal to 25 percent shooting from the field, to secure a fourth straight appearance at EuroBasket Women for Buceta’s team.

Sportsbeat 2018