1 July 2019
GB aiming to best world champions at Wheelchair Basketball Euros
It doesn’t come much tougher than a clash with the world champions on their home patch, but that’s the unenviable task that awaits GB’s wheelchair basketball women.
Not that such an obstacle is likely to phase Miles Thompson’s in-form side after a fine start to their Women’s Wheelchair Basketball European Championships campaign in Rotterdam.
Victorious in their curtain-raiser against France, the 2015 champions made it two wins out of two with an emphatic 56-29 victory over Spain, 24 hours later.
With hauls of 23 and 19 points respectively across the two matches, sharp-shooter Amy Conroy has been key to their early success.
But after an incredible opening to her own international career, Kayla Bell – who won silver at the World Championships over the summer – serves as something of a lucky charm of her own for Thompson’s team.
Hopes are high that Bell and her teammates can match their historic success from four years ago – however the youngster is wary of their formidable Dutch hosts ahead of Tuesday evening’s crunch encounter.
“The Dutch are the world champions and they are the team to beat, but the Germans are ranked third and will be strong,” she said.
This is actually my first Europeans and I’m so pleased to be here and am aiming to make the most of the opportunity.
Buoyed by a rapid-fire start from Conroy, GB established an early dominance they never looked like surrendering against Spain.
Less than a minute had elapsed when Conroy pounced on Joy Haizelden’s assist to net the first points of the encounter.
It took Spain two minutes to respond in kind through Virginia Pérez, but by that point the gap was already six points – Conroy doubling her tally as Laurie Williams also made a lay-up.
Dominant both in terms of possession and territory, GB were shooting with greater accuracy than their overwhelmed opposition.
A strong first quarter for GB concluded with Thompson’s team eight points to the good at 15-7, and from there the gap only increased, with the margin stretched out to 13 points by the end of period two.
By the end of the clash, the statistics told their own story, Conroy and co attempting 68 two-pointers to Spain’s 45 at a significantly higher success rate (36 per cent to 28 per cent).
They’ll be looking for similar numbers this time out if they’re to down the Dutch and continue Bell’s fairytale journey.
Photo credit: British Wheelchair Basketball
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