The final game of Pool B at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Toronto, Canada, saw spectators treated to a nail-biting encounter between Great Britain and the host nation; Canada just edging out a 59-52 victory to take second spot in the group.
With the home crowd behind them, Canada were first on the scoreboard courtesy of a great basket from Janet McLachlan, but Amy Conroy was quick to respond for Great Britain as she levelled the game on two points apiece. From there, play continued end-to-end with each team taking its turn with the lead: Judith Hamer sinking two free throws with 31 seconds remaining in the first 10 minutes to give the GB Women an 11-10 lead before Katie Harnock made a great shot to give Canada a 12-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw Canada come out firing, twice building to a six point lead over Great Britain in the opening four minutes before the GB Women staged a stunning comeback. Baskets from Helen Freeman, Louise Sugden, and Hamer saw Great Britain level the game on 21 points; this was then followed up by shots from Laurie Williams, Hamer and Clare Griffiths to enable the GB Women to edge out a 26-25 lead at half time.
It was Great Britain who came out strongest in the third quarter, working their way to a seven point lead (36-29) before Canada hit back to tie the game on 36 points with two minutes and six seconds remaining in the quarter. With 49 seconds on the clock, Conroy sunk another shot to briefly give the GB Women a two point lead before McLachlan made the most of an offensive rebound to level the game: 40-40.
McLachlan continued her points’ run in the final quarter as she opened the scoring with a fantastic three-point shot to put the host nation ahead by 43-40 and, from there, Canada built their way to a seven point lead (51-44). Great Britain continued to battle hard, Conroy hammering home a two-point shot and a free-throw to put the GB Women back within four points (47-51). Canada, however, found another level as they proceeded to close out the game by 59-52 and secure second position in Pool B with Great Britain earning third place.
As a result, Great Britain will face the runners –up of Pool A, the USA, in their Quarter Final game at 1am BST on Friday 27th June (8pm EST Thursday 26th June).
GB Women’s Head Coach Miles Thompson said: “I thought we were by far the better team, but the score doesn’t prove that and when it came down to executing, we didn’t execute offensively or defensively, and we played nervous. But the beauty of a tournament like this is you get to come back and there’s redemption; I like our chances in the Quarter Finals.”
Great Britain’s top scorer Amy Conroy said: “We were really gutted to lose today because we were in control for a lot of the game, but we’ll pick ourselves up for our Quarter Final against the USA – we know we can beat them.”
Judith Hamer said: “I think we played really well for big portions of the game today, especially in the first half, but we will take this and learn from it, and the Quarter Final should be a good game: we weren’t far off the USA when we played them last and that was only a few weeks ago.”