The much-anticipated final of the 2019 Women’s European Championship saw reigning World and European champions the Netherlands come up against World silver medallists Great Britain, who had already created history by making a European final for the first time.
The Netherlands started the game with a familiar starting line-up in Bo Kramer, Mariska Beijer, Ilse Arts, Jitske Visser and Carina De Rooij, whilst Great Britain opted for a three big line-up with Helen Freeman, Robyn Love, Amy Conroy, Sophie Carrigill and Charlotte Moore. It was a tentative start by both teams, with the first points of the game not coming until two minutes 30 seconds in, with a three-point play by the Netherlands’ Bo Kramer. This kickstarted the Dutch who pushed ahead 9-2, forcing Great Britain’s Head Coach Miles Thompson to call a time-out.
As the Netherlands shared the scoring across the starting five, it was GB’s Robyn Love who took the scoring on her shoulders to keep GB in touching distance at the end of the first, 17-8, with the Netherlands shooting at 50% compared to Britain’s 26%.
The second quarter opened with a bang as Great Britain’s Amy Conroy swished a three pointer and gave GB the resurgence to go on a 6-0 run to bring it back to a three-point game. With GB’s press defence making it difficult for the Dutch, they kept it within five points until the last minutes of the quarter. A lapse in concentration from GB and the Netherlands finished the half with an 8-0 run to get some breathing space at the break, up 33-20.
Turnovers and missed shots by both teams at the start of the third meant the first basket didn’t drop again until two and half minutes into the quarter. Dutch captain De Rooij banked one in off the glass to get the scoring going before both teams exchanged baskets, but it was the Netherlands who continued to shoot the ball well and gradually extended their advantage out to seventeen, 50-33, going in to the final period.
The Netherlands started the fourth in dominant fashion and took their lead out to twenty-two points. With this comfortable advantage to the Dutch, both teams rotated their bench players into the game, and it was GB’s Maddie Thompson who came off the bench with some fire in her belly to help drag the score back for her team, winning the quarter 19-15, but it wasn’t enough as the Netherlands celebrated the win, 65-52.
The Netherlands’ top scorer, Mariska Beijer, with 24 points and 11 rebounds said:
“Sooo excited to be crowned champions! Well of course it is an amazing feeling to win the game and I really think we went through our focus point to play hard on defence and even when GB made a little streak not to be upset and just do our thing, and we did what we set out to do, so we came out on top.”
Looking ahead to Tokyo 2020, Beijer added:
“The main thing we will take away is to deal with the pressure; the round robin games versus GB and Germany were really tough and I think it will be great in the next season if we can play those games with all twelve players.”
Bo Kramer was the Netherlands second top scorer making 21 points, whilst for Great Britain Laurie Williams top scored with 14 points. Full Statistics.
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Photo credit – Steffie Wunderl / Eike Michler