GB Women’s opener of the IWBF World Championships 2022 was a battle of sporting supremacy.
Game report by Omer Hagomer
Helen Freeman put on a phenomenal show helping GBR deliver an impressive victory over Spain, with 25 points and 10 assists.
Jude Hamer won the tip off for GBR, but for Spain it was Isabel Lopez that declared the scoreboard open for business. Joy Haizelden responded with a rapid lay up in transition for GBR.
Both teams turned good defence into offense and exchanged field goals. Halfway through the first quarter Spain led by 6 points, ESP 10:4 GBR.
Captain Sophie Carrigill and Hamer showcased amazing chemistry resulting in 2 points. Freeman reduced the deficit to 4 points after a picture-perfect mid-range shot. Hamer ended the quarter with a decisive shot to keep GBR within touching distance of Spain. ESP 14:12 GBR.
Jade Atkin replaced Hamer in the second quarter. As a shooting threat, she was heavily defended immediately. Spain picked up a few offensive fouls early on.
The pressure was on, it was a low scoring quarter as both teams attempted to settle in and convert their offense into baskets. Freeman remained undeterred despite the scoreline, tying the game with 4 minutes to go until half-time.
Freeman was on fire from the mid-range, forcing Spain to call for a timeout, ESP 18:18 GBR.
Both teams made it rain in the last few seconds. At halftime Spain led by 3 points, ESP 24:21 GBR. Hamer was back on court in the third quarter and instantly made an impact adding 2 points.
Spain showcased remarkable defence which translated into good offence in transition. Carrigill expertly drew a foul, she was a sharpshooter from the free throw line scoring 2/2.
A timeout was called with 5 minutes to go in the third quarter, Hamer and Freeman proved themselves as a dynamic duo, they perfectly executed a pick & roll, with Hamer adding another 2 points to her tally.
Spain were building towards the end of the third quarter, they halted the momentum of GBR. Lucy Robinson joined proceedings as the Spaniards led by 12 points, ESP 42:30 GBR.
GBR refused to give up in the final quarter – Carrigill added 2 points the old-fashioned way with another pick & roll. J. Atkin checked back into the game replacing Robinson; she capitalised on defensive rebounds as GBR were defending exceptionally well.
Freeman reduced a sizable gap to 5 points after making 2 free throws. With 5 minutes to go until full-time GBR were determined to win. J. Atkin joined the scoreboard after making a heavily contested shot.
Anticipation was rising in this nailbiter after a timeout was called. The comeback was on after Haizelden scored a timely layup, GBR led by 1 point with two minutes remaining. ESP 44:43 GBR.
Freeman extended the lead to 3 points, J. Atkin contributed to the finishing touches with 2 points from long-range, Spain’s Lourdes Ortega responded with 2 of her own under the basket.
Freeman was simply unstoppable as she threw the last dagger in the form of a stunning shot from 15 feet away. ESP 48:51 GBR.
C. Moore, S. Carrigill (3), K. Bell, H. Freeman (25), J. Hamer (8), L. Robinson, S. Fitzpatrick, Haizelden (11), J. Atkin (4), M. Martin, E. Fraser, A. Atkin