Paralympic World Cup: Wheelchair basketball gold for GB

By Elizabeth HudsonBBC Sport

Great Britain's women's wheelchair basketball team beat Germany 63-52 to win gold at the Paralympic World Cup.

The team, who had also defeated the Germans in the round-robin stages, were outstanding as they claimed a first international title in Manchester.

GB men's team were also in the medals, securing bronze with a 63-43 victory over Brazil.

It was a close contest for three quarters, but GB ran away with it in the fourth as the Brazilians tired.

The star for the GB women was Helen Freeman, who is currently based in the University of Illinois on a sports scholarship, who continued her superb form in the tournament by top-scoring with 22 points.

There was also an impressive performance by teenager Amy Conroy, who hit 16 in a strong team display.

After an edgy opening quarter, GB pulled ahead in the second quarter with Freeman and Conroy leading the way despite Conroy picking up some early fouls.

The GB team out-rebounded their German opponents and the depth on their bench, which has been a common theme throughout this tournament, saw them storm to a commanding 36-21 lead by half-time.

Louise Sugden, Laurie Williams and Helen Turner also contributed to the scoring and rebounding and never allowed the Germans back into the game.

The home side played some strong defence and their shooting, which has improved over recent tournaments, kept them well ahead of their opponents as they celebrated a famous win.

GB's Helen Freeman
Helen Freeman shoots for GB

"We hit our shots and believed we could win," said Freeman afterwards. "We've been working on our shooting a lot and it is now finally paying off.

"We have a lot of young players in this squad and it is perfect timing as they are all coming through now.

"I've no doubt that Germany will be back, as they are always strong, but we now feel like we can beat anyone."

The win is a boost for head coach Garry Peel with the European Championships to come later this year in Israel, along with the World Under-25 Championship, which will feature six members of the squad that played in Manchester.

"After last night's performance where we lost to Japan, this feels great. I said to the girls 'Just be in control of the game'," he said.

"We started attacking the basket and seemed to be happy with that, but I told them to keep going.

"There is a lot more confidence and belief within the squad now. Our goal is top four in 2012 but that's still so far away, for now we just have to take it one step at a time."

Canada were crowned men's champions after they beat France 56-46 in the final.

Terry Bywater, who top scored for GB men with 17 points against Brazil, said: "I'm happy with the result, it was a typical 'English Bulldog' performance.

"We knew we had to come out of this game with a medal and we didn't want to let the fans down and we showed what the British team is all about."

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