A fine effort from the Standard Life GB Women wasn’t enough to prevent their second EuroBasket defeat of the weekend as they went down 60-45 against the Czech Republic tonight.
Jo Leedham led the way for Tom Maher’s GB side with 14 points despite playing only 15 minutes, and Britain now go into Monday’s game with Israel knowing that nothing less than a win will take them into the second stage.
Julie Page and Rose Anderson each added seven points along with four and one rebound respectively, while Azania Stewart had six rebounds, and Kim Butler added five boards and as many points.
Katerina Elhotova top scored for last summer’s World Championship silver medallists with 27 points after a superb display, but for long periods the British team silenced the large Czech support as they made them work all the way for the victory.
The Czechs won the tip, and took the lead through Petra Kulichova before Standard Life GB player, Julie Page levelled with a lay-up on Chantelle Handy’s assist.
Page gave their first lead of the game with 3:54 on the clock and back-to-back scoring from Leedham saw GB open a 10-7 lead with 2:09 on the clock to force a Czech timeout.
Leedham made it a six point game with a nice jumper, and although the Czechs narrowed things with an Elhotova basket, GB led 13-9 at the first break which also saw GB force a healthy nine turnovers.
Burgrova hit a free-throw and Vesela levelled the score as the Czechs opened the second period strongly, and they hit the first eight points of the quarter before Leedham broke the 10-0 run with a three pointer.
A missed lay-up from Stef Collins was punished as Elhotova hit a three pointer to drag it back to a nine point game and force a Maher timeout with 5:12 on the clock.
Three from four Butler free-throws kept GB in the game, and with Page hitting a nice jump shot the GB team cut the deficit to 27-23 at half-time.
Elhotova picked up her third foul of the game as Page was clattered, and the same player was then hit as IIona Burgrova knocked her to the ground as she was called for an intentional which saw Page hit one of two at the foul line.
GB failed to take advantage as Elhotova hit a trey in transition off Page’s miss, and as the Czechs went on an 8-2 run until Rachael Vanderwal took a layup to keep GB in the game.
Jana Vesela kept the Czechs in front, and despite Ros Mason’s pair at the line after an aggressive drive to the basket, Czech Republic led 40-30 when Maher called a timeout with 4:42 on the clock.
Leedham made it an eight point game with a jumper out of the break, and Rose Anderson hit a trey to make it a six point game only to see Elhotova also drain a three pointer to force another Maher timeout with GB trailing 44-35 at 1:28 left in the period.
Elhotova hit another three pointer to send the Standard Life GB women into the final break trailing 48-35, and Elhotova made it a 15 point game before Leedham’s jumper reduced the arrears at the start of the fourth period.
However, GB never managed to get the deficit into single digits despite some tenacious defence, but they will go into the key matchup with Israel with a lot of confidence after a much-improved performance.
GB return to action on Monday afternoon when they face Israel at 14.00 BST.
photos Janos Schmidt