Two From Two For Great Britain

16 June 2013
Azania Stewart (Great Britain), Liene Jansone (Latvia)
Azania Stewart had 9 points in a clinical win for Great Britain

By Joe Hewison

Turning Point: Kim Butler hit a huge turnaround three-pointer to beat the shot-clock buzzer at the end of the third quarter. This sent Great Britain into the final period holding a five-point lead when it had looked like Latvia would seize the initiative.

Stats Don't Lie: Great Britain dominated on the boards, pulling down 20 offensive rebounds to Latvia's seven. The impact of this was reflected in a 16-point difference in terms of second chance points.

Game Hero: Kim Butler led by example scoring 14 points, including that crucial three, while also collecting nine rebounds.

Great Britain Head Coach Damian Jennings was delighted to see his side produce the skill to match their spirit in the 69-56 win over Latvia that secured their place in the next round of EuroBasket Women.

The Brits took control of the game thanks to their dominance on the rebounds, particularly in offence.

Kim Butler was undoubtedly the star of the show with 14 points and nine rebounds. But it was the fact that the entire team managed 13 more offensive rebounds than Latvia, resulting in 22 second-chance points, that really proved the difference.

The Latvian side appeared to be coming back into the contest in the third quarter off-the-back of some fine play on both ends of the floor from Liene Jansone. That is until a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Kim Butler handed Great Britain the edge heading into the final stanza.

The result is that, following a day one win over Serbia, Jennings's team have achieved their goal of advancing to the second round in his first competition in charge.

But as pleased as he was with that, the new coach was even happier to see the improvement in his team in terms of technical ability.

"We set out a goal seven weeks ago, to make it to the second round, and to do it in the first two games makes life a little easier in the third game," he said.

"We are not the biggest team but most people talk about our tenacity and never-say-die attitude.

"But to win the game with some technical skill, winning offensive rebounds and not just relying on heart and soul but actually through skill and our defensive transition system today was pleasing.

"To get that type of glass today, contributes to how we can stay in games when teams are a little bit better than us talent-wise."

Jansone had 11 points for Latvia while Ieva Krastina scored 12 and was instrumental in the run that almost saw her team claw their way back before Butler's clutch three.



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