Great Britain sustained a 90-59 EuroBasket qualifying defeat to Belarus in Manchester.

A bruising reverse as well with Chema Buceta’s side unable to sufficiently contain the size and speedy ball movement of the visitors who were paced by a game-high 24 points by Mariya Papova.

After the defensive containment of Poland three days earlier, GB saw too many uncontested shots turn into punishment inflicted.

It turned into a loss, but it is not fatal damage on the road to the 2021 finals with a 1-1 record now to take into the second spell of fixtures in this three-team group next November.

But there will be some lessons to learn and points to address for Buceta ahead of February’s all-important Olympic qualifiers.

The start was promising with Temi Fagbenle nailing an outrageously patient lay-up in the paint to level at 11-11 midway through 1st quarter.

Yet Belarus bigs caused problems with Buceta moving to a bigger line-up by inserting Cheridene Green and Janice Monakana to the fray. To no avail, with a 10-2 Belarus run opening up a 21-13 lead with 2:00 left in the first which would never be erased.

Buceta called a time-out with 7:46 left in 2nd after a 7-0 Belarus run that put them 28-18 up. The hosts saw open shots afforded on the perimeter. The visitors, moving the ball very efficiently, with flair and fire.

A 7-2 run from GB, capped by a three from Eilidh Simpson, cut the gap to 30-25 with coach Nataliya Trafimava taking a time out with 5:10 left the half.

But by the break, her team held a 40-27 advantage following another 10-2 burst..

The tide did not turn. Chantel Charles received her first appearance for GB with 40 secs left in the third which concluded with GB 60-42 behind.

A trio of threes from Chantelle Handy among her 12 points provided a faint lifeline in the fourth but Belarus, with Anastasiya Veramenyanka adding 17 points and 11 rebounds, turned the screw to get their campaign off to a winning start.

Fagbenle led GB with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Game StatsUpdates

Notes GB starters v Belarus: Vanderwal, Simpson, Samuelson, Handy, Fagbenle. Jo Leedham once again sat out with a torn calf muscle

Group F standings: 1. Great Britain (1-1), 2. Belarus (1-0) 3. Poland (0-1).


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