The Netherlands women’s wheelchair basketball team secured a convincing 5-0 series victory over Great Britain with a 75-55 win in the final game in Wolverhampton, England.
It was the first time both teams had played since the London 2012 Games and both teams were missing their key forwards. Great Britain’s Helen Freeman and Netherlands’ Mariska Beijer are currently in America studying for their respective degrees.
Inge Huitzing was the stand-out performer for the Dutch Paralympic bronze medallists with 25 points and a 80 per cent succes rate.
As a team, the Netherlands shot the ball very well from outside of their opponent’s area and punished Great Britain using their speed to score quick lay-ups to open up a 20-point half time lead.
Great Britain fought back in short bursts in the second half but the Netherlands lead was too big for them to close down.
Netherlands head coach Gertjan van der Linden said: “We did a really good job in offence so of course when the ball is going in, we will always be happy but I liked the way we organised it. When you organise your offence, then it will go better. We did a good job but
Britain shot very well also so it was okay.”
Van der Linden also praised the way the whole team including some new players contributed.
“It’s a practice game. So it is important that all the players can play these games and we did because we had two new players with us, from the youth team, they had a lot of minutes to play so that was good.”
Leading scorer Huitzing got the game underway scoring the first two baskets as the women in orange raced into a 10-2 lead before British captain Clare Strange hit back with a few baskets of her own in the opening quarter.
Despite being 24-11 down after the first 10 minutes of play, the GB women started to gather momentum after a long three-pointer from Sarah Grady. However, Huitzing kept adding to the scoreboard as the Dutch went into the halftime break 20 points ahead.
The Dutch opened the second half with an eight-point unanswered run to stretch the lead to 54-26 before GB’s Laurie Williams and Helen Turner led a short fight back. The Netherlands’ Cher Korver scored back-to-back baskets before a Clare Strange three-point play ended the quarter on 63-37.
Strange took her tally to 14 points for the game as she scored the first basket of the final period. The two teams traded baskets before eight straight points from Britain’s Amy Conroy ended the contest.
The British team are coached by the new pairing of Joe Jayarante and Nigel Smith as they prepare for the European Championships which run from 28 June-7 July in Frankfurt.
Amy Conroy reflected on the international series as a valuable experience.
“I think the coaches are great and we’ve got a load of new players,” Conroy said.
“I think we are playing well together and reading other well. The coaches have made some great changes so the future of this team will be good I think.”