Great Britain bounce back to beat Estonia in Women's EuroBasket qualifier

Great Britain eased to an 83-45 win over Estonia in their FIBA Women’s EuroBasket qualifier in Tallinn on Sunday afternoon.

It was the best possible response for GB, following Thursday’s opening loss to Sweden as Chema Buceta’s side went on several key runs throughout the game with their counterparts unable to put together any notable spells of their own.

Great Britain shot 46% from the field, led by the exceptional Temi Fagbenle, who led with 32 points and nine rebounds on 61% shooting, ably supported by 17 from Savannah Wilkinson.

“I’m proud of the way we bounced back from the first game, it was a great team effort,” said Fagbenle.

“It was a big team win, everybody contributed in some way whether or not they were on the court, and I am very happy that we were able to win by that margin as well, because these points are important in this campaign and it was nice to be on the court all having fun together.”

“I am happy with the performance of the team because after losing against Sweden this game was very important,” said GB head coach Chema Buceta.

“Not only to win because that was the priority but also to get the best winning score possible. I think we played a lot as a team today with very good defence, I think defence was key, we created many problems for Estonia on offence, and many times we were able to go on the fast break and that gave us a lot of points.”

Keandra Koorits had nine points, and former Caledonia Gladiators player Tea Adams added seven for Estonia, who drop to 0-2.

A physical opening saw both sides commit unforced turnovers, but Great Britain made better use of Estonia’s errors, with Kennedy Leonard’s steal and score along with Chantelle Handy’s off-balance turnaround highlighting an 11-2 run.

The home side clawed their back into proceedings towards the end of a relatively scrappy first 10 minutes, but GB’s offensive prowess inside and shooting 7/11 from the field was good enough for a 17-12 lead.

Among the first-quarter scorers was Essex Rebels product Megan Haines, whose first action saw her attack the basket and score an uncontested lay-up following a ball fake.

After a subpar ending to the first quarter by their standards, GB raced out the blocks in the second with patient build-up play, resulting in easy scores, leaving the Estonia defence in their wake.

At the other end, defensively, Great Britain were stubborn and strong, forcing the hosts into tough and heavily contested shots.

This resulted in a 13-0 burst by the rampant visitors, which included back-to-back triples from Fagbenle, who hit 12 points in the second, leaving her side in firm control at the break, up 40-23.

GB flexed more in the third as a 6-0 run early in the period put even more daylight between them and the Estonians, and despite the field goal percentage dropping in the quarter, solid defence held the hosts to 28% from the field going into the fourth.

And to put the icing on the cake in what was a satisfying afternoon’s work, the visitors started the final period with a 14-2 run to seal a much-needed win ahead of the next window in November 2024 when GB host Denmark and travel to Sweden.