EuroBasket: GB women suffer 81-55 defeat by Serbia in bronze medal play-off match

EuroBasket
Great Britain lost to France in the EuroBasket semi-finals on Saturday

Great Britain's women missed out on a medal at EuroBasket as they lost 81-55 to hosts Serbia in the bronze medal play-off in Belgrade.

Centre Temi Fagbenle returned to her best, scoring 23 points and guard Rachael Vanderwal added 11.

Britain stayed in touch until the second half as their shooting touch began deserting them, perhaps down to tiredness after seven games in 11 days.

Fourth is the best placing by a British team at a European Championship.

"Everyone's tired at this stage," said Vanderwal.

"It's such a hard tournament - every game takes everything out of you and it showed today. But it's no excuse."

Both sides looked tired after such a heavy schedule, but Serbia, who had played one game less, made the better start, posting a 15-6 lead.

Britain went inside to their tournament all-star five candidate Fagbenle and she hit four points in an 8-0 lead to get GB into the game.

It took coach Jose Maria Buceta's team 11 attempts to hit a three-point shot before Vanderwal splashed one late in the half, but Britain stayed in the hunt with an improved defensive effort and trailed 40-33 at the interval.

Serbia all but secured a home bronze in the third quarter when they restricted their opponents to just six points, holding them scoreless for five minutes in one passage.

The fourth quarter was little better - Fagbenle hit Britain's lone field goal of the first five minutes as Serbia ensured their place on the podium.

"If we want to be one of the top teams at this level, we have to be able to play seven games in 11 days," said Buceta.

"But I think we have to see the big picture here - and that is that we are talking about qualifying tournaments for the Olympic Games.

"We would have preferred to have won this game - and yesterday's game against France - but we have to be happy with what we have achieved.

"I think we have raised the standards - there is no reason that Great Britain cannot have a better level of basketball and these players have shown that when they have a level of trust in what they are doing they can do great things."

Britain's miserable day shooting the ball was reflected in their three-point statistics, which showed just one success in each half from 20 attempts overall.

The team, which broke new ground for British basketball at this tournament by reaching the last eight, must now regroup for February's Olympic qualifying tournament, which offers them the consolation of a place in next year's 12-team Tokyo tournament.

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