ALLEN THE KEY AS GB ON BRINK
- Updated: June 22, 2014
Great Britain’s women moved to the brink of securing their place at next summer’s EuroBasket finals with a 71-60 win over Macedonia in Worcester.
Lauren Thomas-Johnson, Dominique Allen and Rachael Vanderwal all scored a team-high 15 points each as Peter Buckle’s side pulled ahead in the second quarter before killing off their visitors with an 8-0 run at the start of the third.
GB will still likely claim a berth in Hungary next year as Group B runners-up even if they lose their final qualifier to Lithuania on Wednesday.
Krisi Givens had 12 of her game-best 30 points in the opening quarter, despite picking up an early technical, as the winless Macedonians went toe to toe with their hosts, trading leads six times.
But an 8-3 close to the first half gave GB a 44-35 cushion at half-time and they immediately asserted their dominance, eventually moving as much as 62-44 in front with 11 minutes left.
And with Allen completing a double-double with 11 rebounds, Macedonia’s late rally came up well short.
“I thought our bench had a great impact,” said Buckle. “Dom (Allen) obviously, Lauren Thomas-Johnson also coming through – she’s struggled with injury so I was pleased with our bench. Temi (Fagbenle) and Zee (Azania Stewart) and our starters sat down for quite a while.
“We think we’ve got a pretty good bench and it’s important that we get people in the game and that they’re growing in confidence and understanding their roles, because that’s hugely important for us coming down the stretch against Lithuania.
“I think we saw tonight Dominique coming in and not just rebounding but playing offensively. There was a lovely pump fake and drive and finish and an offensive rebound where she came over the back and finished – only athletes can do that.”
Earlier, GB’s Under-20 men received a boost for their forthcoming European Championships by defeating the USA 79-65 with Josh Steele scoring a game-high 23 points in their final game of the Tourcoing tournament in France.
Pic: Mansoor Ahmed/BB