Ukraine made a winning start to their EuroBasket Women Division A campaign on Wednesday, holding off a determined fightback to beat Great Britain 59-54 in their Group A clash.
Ukraine looked to have taken control of the game after a 15-0 run at the end of the first half gave them a 33-18 lead, but entering the final quarter 52-39 down, Great Britain found a new lease of life.
Having cut the deficit to 55-46, Kimberly Butler missed a three-pointer and then a jump shot and it looked as though the chance to close the gap further may have passed.
|Olena Zherzherunova had 13 points for Ukraine|
They could get no closer though, as Leedham missed a jumper and Nikki Luckhurst was off target from three-point range.
Rosalee Mason made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to four, 58-54, but Inna Yegorova split a pair from the charity stripe to finish the game.
Olexander Gorbunova made seven of 12 from two-point range and finished with 18 points and six rebounds to lead Ukraine, who also got 13 points from Olena Zherzherunova.
Leedham led Britain with 14 points and five rebounds.
Volodymyr Bryukhovetskiy, head coach Ukraine:
"This was our first home game and the pressure we were under caused such a slow start to the game. We also relaxed too much when were up by 18 points. Some players thought the win was already ours and we lost control of the game for a while."
"Although we did not cope well with one of our tasks for the game - limiting Great Britain's penetrations - we still did well on defense, allowing them to score just 52 points. We'll work on the mistakes we've made and things should be all right in the future".
Mark Clark, head coach Great Britain:
"I was not surprised that the Ukraine team was as good as we expected them to be. We spent a lot of time preparing for them. They have two or three very good players and as a team they function very effectively. In Gorbunova they obviously have a quality player and in key moments of the game she came up with important points."
"From our perspective I think while we were as well prepared as we could have been (we had a good series of games with Croatia) there is nothing like a competitive game, a EuroBasket game, and I think we prove we belong to this level."
It was a close game and we managed to come back. Now we had a look at this level, we've got to adopt and get ready to play Lithuania, who is one of the favorites in the group. But for our first game in Division A I was pleased with our effort, I was pleased with the way we came back in the game."