EuroBasket qualifying: GB women lose 90-59 at home to Belarus

Temi Fagbenle
Temi Fagbenle scored 16 points for Great Britain, but Belarus held the upper hand from the early stages

Great Britain's women were beaten 90-59 by Belarus at Manchester's Belle Vue in their second EuroBasket 2021 qualifier.

Temi Fagbenle scored 16 points for Britain and Chantelle Handy hit four late threes for her 12 points but the hosts were outclassed for long periods.

Defeat is a setback for Britain, who must win their three-team group to be certain of qualification.

The winners of each of the nine groups qualify, as will the five best second-placed teams.

Britain's next games are in February in the Olympic qualifiers, which they reached by finishing fourth in EuroBasket 2019.

EuroBasket Women 2021 qualifying group F
PWLFAPts
Great Britain2111241533
Belarus11090592
Poland10163751

Belarus exploited Britain's lack of height in the first quarter, taking five offensive rebounds as they led 21-15 despite Fagbenle scoring 10 points.

The Belarus lead reached double figures before Britain responded through a rebound for two from Cheridene Green and a three from Eilidh Simpson, the home side's top scorer in the 75-63 victory in Poland on Thursday in their opening qualifier, reduced the arrears.

Yet GB added only two free throws from Karlie Samuelson in the next five minutes as Belarus took control, with Anastasiya Verameyenka and Maryia Papova dominating inside in a 10-2 run.

GB were better after the interval with Rachael Vanderwal at her most effective, but Viktoryia Hasper and Papova, who finished with 28 points, were proving difficult to stop and the hosts made only a slight dent in the lead.

The fourth quarter saw GB at last finding their range from the three-point line with Georgia Jones and Handy both successful.

Belarus's response was two three-pointers of their own in a 10-0 run as they snuffed out any chance of a GB revival by closing out the game 20-5, ending the home team's seven-match unbeaten run at the National Centre.

Britain must now recover to concentrate on their Olympic qualifying campaign in February, and they find out their opponents for that tournament on 27 November.

Chema Buceta (Great Britain coach - on Sunday's game): "Belarus prepared very well and they found a way to stop our defence - that was so successful in EuroBasket. We had a lot of problems inside with defensive rebounds."

Chantelle Handy (on the Olympic qualifiers): "We're excited - being an Olympian one time is something, trying to go twice would be huge. A lot of us are coming to the end of our careers so that would be another notch for us. But we have to be realistic - we know it's going to be very difficult so we have to be focused and ready for February."