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Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Thursday, 26 August 2010 19:09 UK

GB women seal European qualification after Germany win

Julie Page (right)
Page (right) was Britiain's top scorer with 18

By Rob Dugdale in Liverpool

Great Britain's women reached the European Championship finals for the first time in 54 years by beating Germany 77-59 at the Echo Arena.

Julie Page top-scored with 18 points, Johannah Leedham added 15 and Kim Butler 12 as the home side led from the start in an assured display.

They are the first home nation in a Euro finals since 1956, when Scotland played in the former Czechoslovakia.

"No booking a vacation for next year because we'll be in Poland!" said Page.

"We're all very excited about it."

Britain led by 23 points at half-time and never allowed their guests to reduce arrears to single figures.

The win means Tom Maher's unfancied squad will top EuroBasket Group D.

In the second half of the double-header in Liverpool, Great Britain's men also secured EuroBasket qualification , for the second time in succession.

GB's women lost at home to to Slovakia in the first of six qualifying games this month.

But they have won every match since and their dominance was apparent from the start in Liverpool, despite the pressure they were under.

Page's relentless offensive rebounding brought the team 10 points in an opening period that saw the score reach 14-3 in favour of the hosts. Germany managed only 11 points in the quarter.

GB then hit a 19-6 run in the second quarter, inspired by the hard work of Natalie Stafford, Azania Stewart and Butler, which was punctuated by Leedham's first three-pointer of the night.

"I think we all do a good job before the game to fire each other up but at the end of the day it's a team game," Page added.

"It wasn't just me getting the rebounds - Kim and Azania crashed the boards hard too."

"We've come so far with our teamwork - we're at the point where we're flowing because we know each other's game so well."

The Germans' brief recovery in the third quarter with threes from Linda Froehlich and Roli-Ann Nikagbatse was undone in the fourth when Page and Butler scored successive threes in reply.

Another from Stafford re-established an 18-point advantage with six minutes remaining, and that allowed GB to coast to victory and qualification for next year's finals in Poland.

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see also
GB qualify with win over Bosnia
26 Aug 10 |  Basketball
GB women clinch win over Ukraine
20 Aug 10 |  Basketball
GB women can qualify, says Maher
14 Jul 10 |  Basketball
GB men stand out in double-header
14 Aug 10 |  Basketball

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