England Women On A High After Bronze Win

24 March 2006

Do not underestimate the importance of the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games for England's women.

The competition is not as tough as a EuroBasket, but it was a wonderful opportunity for the English and they took advantage, edging out Nigeria 78-75 in a game that went right to the wire.

The men's game has a low profile in the United Kingdom but the women's is even lower.

FIBA Europe only recently launched their Year of Women's Basketball initiative with the number one aim to raise the profile of the sport, so the game could be a launchpad for bigger things in England.

Winning captain Claire Maytham said: "After the disappointment of the (semi-final) defeat against New Zealand, we regrouped and knew it was important to get a result in this game.

"We are all very emotional right now, but we are ecstatic to be coming home with a medal."

England, for whom Andrea Congreaves scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds, lost the final quarter 29-23 but had enough in the bank to hold on for the win.

Funmi Ojelabi had a chance to put Nigeria ahead in the closing stages but she missed her lay-up and soon after Rashidat Sadiq failed twice from the free throw line as the African side spurned the opportunities that were available to them to snatch the bronze.

England then went up the other end and forward Shelly Boston downed a baseline jumper with six seconds left to clinch the victory.

Forward-guard Katie Crowley added: "This is a fantastic result for the team and hopefully for women's basketball in England."

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