EuroBasket 2017: GB women lose to Italy in qualifier

By Rob DugdaleBBC Sport in Manchester
GB 'must do better' after Italy defeat

Great Britain's women lost their second EuroBasket 2017 qualifier, going down 60-48 to Italy in Manchester.

Chantelle Handy hit four three-pointers as part of her 16-point haul and Johannah Leedham, who scored 20 in the defeat by Montenegro, added 11 points.

Britain led for the first 16 minutes before Italy's improved finishing gave them the lead with a 19-3 run.

GB got within two points at the start of the fourth quarter, but could not sustain their recovery.

The defeat was GB's second in EuroBasket qualifying Group C and raises the possibility that their run of Eurobasket appearances, currently standing at three in a row, may end next year.

The nine group winners and six best second-placed teams will advance to the tournament in the Czech Republic.

Britain led 16-7 after the first quarter, only for Italy, led by 36-year-old veteran Laura Macchi (27 points), to dominate the next two periods.

The hosts started the final quarter with a 7-0 run to trail by just two points (44-46). But they managed only four free throws after that as Italy completed their second win of the group.

Great Britain head coach Jose Maria Buceta:

"I'm proud of what this team has done in the last 10 days and we have improved day by day.

"In the second quarter we couldn't find positions for good shots. The effort was still good but when we made mistake on defence, they [Italy] were able to score."

Great Britain guard Johannah Leedham:

"We played a really good Italian team and we put up a great fight. Maybe not for the full 40 minutes - which hurt us.

"We didn't shoot the ball particularly well. I did not have a great night and this team relies on me to score."