Chantelle Handy insisted Great Britain basketball’s Olympic hopes are still very much alive despite losing their second successive game at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Belgrade, Rachel Steinberg reports.
Great Britain women’s basketball team, who lost their opener to China on on Thursday, nearly sealed a historic trip to Tokyo on Saturday after rallying back from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit against South Korea, but Chema Buceta’s side fell just short of the target with an 82-79 defeat.
After a late flurry of scores for GB, Rachel Vanderwal had a chance to tie it up with less than four seconds on the clock, but her three-point attempt skimmed the rim before bouncing out, sealing the win for Korea and forcing Great Britain to rest their Tokyo hopes on beating Spain on the tournament’s final day.
With less than 24 hours on the clock until their final chance to qualify for an Olympics outright for the first time, Handy is urging her side to quickly move on from the agonising defeat.
“We’ve got to turn it around fast,” she said. “We cannot dwell on this game.
“We have to be fearless at this point because we still have a chance to go.
“We can play Spain, we played them twice close in the last year, so we’ve just got to go back to the hotel, scout and get ready for the next game.
Saturday's result may leave Great Britain rooted to the bottom of the tournament table but Buceta’s side still have an opportunity to qualify with a win over Spain tomorrow.
They will also need to improve on their shots from the field, especially on the three-pointers that ultimately won the encounter for South Korea.
Handy emphatically brushed off concerns about nerves heading into Sunday's crucial battle, insisting her side have got what it takes to rewrite the history books.
She added: “We have to be fearless at this point because we still have a chance to go.
“You’re nervous coming into these games but it’s good to have nerves. We knew how important this game was, but like I keep saying there’s another chance tomorrow. It’s not over.”