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Page last updated at 19:25 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Romania shred women's 2012 dream

Kim Butler
Kim Butler's game-high 22 points proved in vain for GB

Great Britain's women have almost certainly lost their chance of playing in the 2012 Olympics after they lost 71-66 to Romania in Targoviste.

GB came agonisingly close to grabbing the win, but defeat relegates Mark Clark's team back to Division B.

Their only hope now would be for the game's governing body, Fiba, to offer a free place in 2012 or in the additional pre-Olympic qualifying tournament.

Kim Butler and Rose Mason, with 22 and 16 points, again led GB's brave effort.

But with GB falling behind early, Clark's team always struggled to overhaul the Romanians.

Romania were led by Simina Mandache, who hit 16 points, and Svetlana Dragusin and Monika Boriga, both of whom netted 13, with the eastern European side's victory saving Finland from relegation.

The bottom line is that we need to prove ourselves again

GB coach Mark Clark

Clark's team were always playing catch-up after Romania hit them with a 15-2 first-quarter run to lead 19-6.

Although the introduction of Kristy Lavin closed the deficit to 26-17 at the end of the first quarter, the hosts leapt out again to a 15-point lead in the second quarter.

Trailing 42-33 at half-time, GB closed to within four points midway through the third quarter when a pair of free throws from Butler and a Mason basket made the score 47-43.

GB began the fourth quarter with a three-pointer from Sarah Naylor reducing the arrears to seven points.

In the last five minutes, baskets from Stef Collins, McKay and Butler reduced the deficit to 64-61 with just over two minutes remaining.

Mandache and Collins traded threes before Dragusin's basket with 51 seconds remaining gave Romania a five-point cushion.

Butler kept the pressure on with a two 15 seconds from the end, but Paula Ciocan's pair of free throws with nine seconds left on the clock extinguished GB's chances of a shock win.

"Once again we showed tremendous heart to get ourselves back into the game," said Clark. "We were in with a chance of winning right down until the last two plays of the game.

"Romania started well, they shot very well in the first quarter which meant that we were always chasing them."

He admitted significant damage had been done in Tuesday's defeat by Finland in Worcester.

"The bottom line is that we need to prove ourselves again," he said. "It's a testament to the players who have committed themselves this January that we came this close.

"I'm proud of the time and effort all 14 girls have given to this programme and to this team."

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see also
McKay leads GB to win in Sarajevo
16 Jan 09 |  Basketball
Loss leaves GB future in jeopardy
13 Jan 09 |  Basketball
GB women lose at home to Romania
10 Jan 09 |  Basketball
Mason guides GB to Bosnia victory
07 Jan 09 |  Basketball
Basketball team looks to 2012
07 Jan 09 |  England
GB women secure opening victory
04 Jan 09 |  Basketball

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