The clash between two undefeated teams ended in a tough loss for Great Britain Women.
Written by Omer Hagomer
GBR won the tip off, but China’s defense was immense from the get-go. China attempted to score in transition, but GBR came away with the defensive rebound, they moved the ball effectively and Helen Freeman scored 2 points. Xiaolian Huang responded with a long shot for two points from the elbow.
Initially GBR were defending well and both teams showed patience in offence. Halfway through the first quarter, China called for a timeout, GBR 2:2 CHN. Suiling Lin scored from the baseline for China, while GBR did not take full advantage of a turnover, but shortly after Helen Freeman found her rhythm with 2 shots off the backboard.
It was a low scoring quarter, yet China made sure the score was level heading into the second quarter. Huang was wide open and added another 2 points. Jade Atkin gave GBR a lead with a mid-range shot but not for long as Huang tied the game yet again. At the end of the quarter GBR 8:8 CHN.
Kayla Bell replaced Charlotte Moore in the second quarter. China used offensive rebounds to take a 3-point lead. Freeman beat the shot clock to reduce the gap. Baskets were exchanged at both ends of the floor and Great Britain called for a timeout halfway through the second quarter.
China were proficient in the counter attack. Jude Hamer checked in for J. Atkin and cemented her presence with 4 points. After a decisive call from the referees, China were getting the friendly roll and led by 6 points at half-time. GBR 17:23 CHN.
The speed of Haizelden earned GBR 2 points after a wonderful layup. Hamer was unwavering, she used screen shots to keep GBR within touching distance of China. Haizelden was on form despite tough defense from China. Both teams exchanged baskets like gifts, but China led by 6 points.
Hamer was very skilled from the free throw line, as GBR called for a timeout and Moore was back on court, she set an amazing screen for Hamer to add 2 points. Height was paying off for the Chinese squad, they were cutting through the defense and converting. GBR remained determined, Moore used offensive rebounds and Hamer did not miss. Freeman stepped up to reduce the lead, she was deadly from the top of the key.
GBR were playing with heart and resiliency forcing China to call for a timeout with 12 seconds remaining in the quarter. Guidi Lyu fired at 45 degrees and beat the buzzer to end the quarter, GBR 33:43 CHN. Nothing but net for China in the last quarter, but Freeman was outstanding at drawing fouls and remained composed under pressure.
J. Atkin subbed in for Hamer. J. Atkin used defensive rebounds and Haizelden scored in transition. The dynamic Maddie Martin checked in for Haizelden and finished a beautiful shot off the backboard.
Lucy Robinson replaced J. Atkin. GBR called for another timeout with 2 minutes to go, as the Chinese were relentless on offence. Freeman reduced the deficit to 15 points with 20 seconds to go but Lin closed the game with conviction using a three-pointer, GBR 46:64 CHN.
GB’s Jude Hamer commented:
“Hats off to China, we had a really good defensive game plan and we stuck to it. They got really hot from the outside and hit shots that we forced them to take. We shut down their two main threats and other people stepped up,”
“A tough loss but I think we played well, it was just a good game from China. I am really impressed with the whole [GB] team, the whole unit just coming together as one big family, lots to build on for the next game,”
About facing Canada: “I feel really confident, we are just growing and learning as the tournament goes on, people are getting more confident as we get through the tournament. So yeah I think we have more to show and more to give.”
Moore, S. Carrigill (2), K. Bell, H. Freeman (22), J. Hamer (12), L. Robinson, S. Fitzpatrick, J. Haizelden (6), J. Atkin (2), M. Martin (2), E. Fraser, A. Atkin.