Great Britain's under-20 women made the perfect start to their push for promotion to Division A of the European Championship with a 61-42 victory against Belgium in Macedonia on Friday.
Belgium narrowly missed out on a place in the top flight last summer, but they had no answer to an explosive GB performance which saw Katrin Chiemeka lead the scoring with 15 points. Damian Jennings' team never looked back after a 15-6 first quarter, and went on to outscore the Belgians in all four periods. That lead grew to 32-21 going into the locker room at half-time before an 18-11 third period effectively wrapped things up. Ahead 50-32 going into the final period, GB didn't let up as they outscored Belgium 11-10 in the fourth quarter to take the win.
Mary Durojaye finished with ten for a balanced GB offence, with Miari Buchan and Kashmere Joseph each adding eight, and Kristie Sheils and Tamzin Barroilhet six apiece. Jennings was understandably delighted as he marked his first European Championship game with a victory: "This really was a positive start, with all the players contributing" he said.
"We contained the one on one well for the majority of the game and, apart from a few minutes in both halves, dominated the boards well. We allowed too many scores in the paint in a couple of spells, which I'm sure we can get right before tomorrow as they were our errors. There is still more to come from team in transition, and definitely at the offensive end."
The young GB team will face Hungary on Saturday afternoon, and Jennings is already preparing for the game:
"Tomorrow will be different as Hungary boast players with EuroLeague experience and are heavily skilled scorers - but I know they will have watched us play and won't enjoy the physicality, athleticism or composure to our game."