In the first medal game of the wheelchair basketball event at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the Netherlands took on Great Britain.
It was the Dutch who were first on the scoreboard; the British shots refusing to fall as both teams piled on the defensive pressure. With the Netherlands having pushed ahead to an 8-0 lead, the GB Women hit back to close the gap to six points before the Dutch team pushed ahead once more to move ahead by 17-4 by the end of the opening quarter.
The second quarter saw the two sides continue to put up strong performances on defence and, with Great Britain’s shots still not dropping, the Netherlands were able to push even further ahead to a 33-17 advantage at half time.
In the third quarter, the Netherlands continued to capitalise on their momentum as they worked their way to 58-22 lead with just 10 minutes left on the clock.
The final quarter saw both teams continue to battle hard, but once again it was the Netherlands who were able to capitalise in and around the paint to earn a 76-34 victory and, with it, the bronze medal.
Netherlands Head Coach Gertjan van der Linden said: “For us it was a difficult game because we lost yesterday against Germany – we had one goal and that was to get to the final and win the gold medal. That has been our aim since London 2012 four years ago; we already have a bronze medal so we were going for gold and to play in the final. It’s a pity we didn’t win that game yesterday.
“The girls have worked together really hard for the last four years so we said it doesn’t matter what’s happened we want to win that bronze medal now.
“Today we had the chance to have a run of 6-0 and so we thought “that’s good,” then we settled into the game and had a few good shots – it was better than yesterday. The ball was going in and we’ve played a very good defence the last few game.”
Great Britain Head Coach Miles Thompson said: “The Netherlands have had our number this summer- teams usually have to deal with our speed they out physical us and we have to deal with their speed. It puts us on our heels and, today, with how we match up with them, it wasn’t on the cards.
“We know that in 2012, GB came in seventh; 2016 – we get to a semi-final and come in fourth. There’s an incremental gain there. We talk about that – incremental gains – as a programme all the time: daily incremental gains and a shared human experience. This team has a strength of character. We’re so disappointed, but once we look back on this and understand that we had a tournament that allowed us to get to a semi-final in the Paralympic Games, we’ll look back on it with a lot of pride and know that it’s a stepping stone for us towards Tokyo 2020.”
For full match statistics click here https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/wheelchair-basketball-womens-bronze-medal-match-wb-2