Great Britain’s women secured second place in the Antalya Invitational Tournament in Turkey, defeating Croatia 74-56 in their final game.

Tom Maher’s side, who now head to Manchester to meet the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream in a friendly on Sunday, delivered an impressive defensive display anchored by Chantelle Handy who picked up 23 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.

“We did a terrific job defensively and our rebounding improved dramatically,” said Maher. “It was just a good team effort. And in the end when we needed someone to step up, Chantelle Handy made some big shots.”

After a poor start which saw their opponents score the game’s first eight points, GB embarked on a 12-4 run to level with 3:50 left in the first quarter.

However, the Croats went on a 13-4 tear, pushing 25-16 clear headed into the second before GB fought their feet.

Handy started a remarkable 18-5 run which gave her side a 36-31 half-time cushion. And although they twice slipped behind in the third, Julie Page put GB 46-45 in front midway through the period and they would never again trail, using a 17-0 run to move decisively clear heading into the fourth.

And with Rachel Vanderwal pulling the strings impressively in the backcourt, and with Kim Butler adding 11 points, GB picked up further gains.

Out-rebounding the Croats 58-36, and claiming 23 offensive rebounds, Maher’s side cruised to a moral boosting win.

Sandra Mandir led Croatia with 17.

Britain was again with Jo Leedham and Natalie Stafford, both potential starters if fully fit. Stafford – who is finishing her Masters degree – is expected to rejoin the squad following next month’s friendlies in Latvia while Leedham, who took part in the warm-up, will be held out of the Atlanta game as she continues the rehab on her injured knee.

“The way she’s moving suggests she’s not far off,” said Maher. “But we’re not going to risk her. The Europeans are our main focus.”

Hosts Turkey clinched victory in the tournament despite losing 72-51 to Montenegro.

Antalya Invitational Standings:  1. Turkey, 2. GB, 3. Montenegro, 4. Croatia


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