Great Britain’s Women battled all the way against a strong China team in the quarter-finals as China claimed a 33:47 win despite a resilient effort by ParalympicsGB.
Their team spirit, passion and resilience was once again on show on the Ariake Arena court as they came-up against an undefeated China, who topped Group B with a 100 per cent winning record.
Buoyed by their stunning victory against Australia on Sunday, GB held their own in the early stages against China, with Laurie Williams levelling the scores after China scored the first basket. While the speed of the GB starting five of Williams, Charlotte Moore, Helen Freeman, Amy Conroy and Joy Haizelden and their early defensive pressure created an early turnover and forced China to make a change to their line-up.
GB were creating opportunities, but as was the case in the Preliminary Round, the baskets just weren’t falling for GB. A 6-0 scoring run for China saw the 2018 World Championships semi-finalists establish an early lead, but a three-pointer from Freeman, who posted her second double-double in Tokyo, broke China’s momentum and made it a three-point game.
After a couple of shots were missed by GB, China ended the quarter with three baskets in the final 90 seconds of the quarter to build a nine-point lead at the end of quarter one.
It was extended to 15 points with just over four minutes gone in the second quarter, but GB responded well and the baskets began to fall, Conroy scoring five points and both Moore and Maddie Thompson adding two each to make it a 14:27 half-time score line.
Two close quarters followed with both teams defending defiantly including GB forcing China into two turnovers in the opening half of the third quarter. A combined four points from Freeman and Conroy cancelled out the opening scores of the second-half.
Points from outside the paint for co-captains Thompson and Conroy and the first two of the game for Jude Hamer reduced the deficit to 11 points with two minutes, 30 seconds left of the third quarter. But it was China who extended their advantage in the final 11 seconds of the quarter to make it a 14-point game as it entered the final quarter.
ParalympicsGB battled all the way to the end, never giving up belief and showing great character to try and close the gap on China who were defending resolutely, just as they had done throughout the Preliminary Round.
Five points from Freeman and two points for Haizelden in the opening half of the final quarter brought GB back to within 11 points but both teams cancelled each other it in the final quarter as China held firm to claim a 33:47 win despite ParalympicsGB fighting all the way to the end.