RUSSIANS TOO HOT TO HANDLE

Great Britain were pummelled by Russia 71-40 in their EuroBasket Women 2015 opener.

And although the 2011 champions were a class above on Friday in Szombathely, GB were left to rue an eye injury to centre Temi Fagbenle in the first quarter that saw the centre taken to hospital.

The blow, sustained in a loose ball scramble, came in the middle of two 10-0 runs from the Russians in quick succession that took them 38-15 in front before the Group C outsiders closed the opening half with seven straight points to cut the deficit to 38-22.

But Russia’s size, and the consistency of their defensive pressure, proved too hot to handle and their cushion was easily increased despite the admirably gritty efforts of Peter Buckle’s side – led by 10 points from Azania Stewart.

Russia, whose advantage peaked at 69-38 late in the fourth, were paced by 13 points and eight rebounds from 16-year-old wunderkind Maria Vadeeva.

And with GB shooting just 14/48 from the field, even a composed showing from Stef Collins and precious help off the bench from Dom Allen could only limit the damage.

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“They shot the ball very well and made shots under pressure, so credit to them,” said Buckle. “We actually had a lot of good open looks, but we didn’t finish enough of them off.

“It is hard to combat the size of Russia and you really don’t want to lose someone the size of Temi in any game, but especially not against a team who are so big under the basket.

“There were still some real positives in that I thought we got better and we have got some rustiness out of our system.

“Now we have this first game under our belts, we can move on quickly to Latvia and we know they will come out tough after losing in a tight one against Croatia.”

Next up on Saturday afternoon for Buckle’s side is Latvia, who are also winless after losing 67-63 to Croatia.

Twitter updates – Game stats

 

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