London 2012: GB suffer agonising defeat with 0.2 seconds of overtime left

Women’s basketball - Group B: France 80 Great Britain 77

Great Britain’s women came desperately close to a historic Olympic victory but were defeated by France in overtime, conceding the decisive score 0.2 seconds from time.

Britain led by three points in the final 25 seconds of normal time, but France hit a late three-pointer to send the match into overtime – and they went on to repeat the feat.

GB were ahead again with just over a minute left in extra-time, but the visitors equalised and their captain Celine Dumerc netted a winner with less than a second left.

Britain’s fourth successive defeat leaves them bottom of Group B – unable to finish in the top four teams and qualify for the quarter-finals.

Britain’s line-up included Wood Green’s Azania Stewart and Temi Fagbenle, who both started their basketball careers Haringey Angels – but it was Jo Leedham who led the way with 29 points.

GB led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter but lost the second period by seven points as the French took a 27-23 advantage into half-time.

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Natalie Stafford and Leedham pulled the hosts back into contention as they levelled the game at 36-36, but France moved ahead again at 47-44 at the end of the third quarter.

However, the excitement in the arena rose as Britain battled back again, with Butler giving them the lead (56-55) with three minutes of normal time to go.

France overturned the deficit to take a two-point lead but a Julie Page three-pointer put Britain 63-62 up with one minute remaining, and Leedham extended the gap to 65-62 with 25 seconds on the clock.

Britain were so close to victory, but France netted a three-pointer with 5.6 seconds left to send the match into overtime – and went on to break the home side’s hearts again.

Natalie Stafford and Leedham gave Britain the lead in overtime, and the home nation were 76-75 up with just over a minute of the extra five left, but France went 76-77 up with 30 seconds to go.

Page won two free throws with 10 seconds on the clock but could only score one of them, leaving the scores tied – and Dumarc scored a decisive three-pointer with 0.2 seconds left.

Britain’s women will conclude their Olympics campaign against Brazil on Sunday.

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