Crunch time for Lionesses

Clark's team look to progress in Europe Cup

London Lions travel to Belgium for their final FIBA Europe Women’s Cup group game knowing that a victory will take into the knockout stages.

Hosts Castors Braine have already sealed a place in the last 32 and coach Mark Clark is looking for his side to join them in Wednesday:  “We’ve looked at it a number of ways, and it’s pretty simple – we need to win” he said. “If we lose by a small margin and Kelton also lose we’re throughout anyway, but the best thing would be to win the game.”

Lions inflicted Castors’ only defeat of the competition when a strong fourth period saw them win 69-63 at the Copper last month, and Clark believes his injury-hit side can repeat that success: “They’re probably the best team in a very tight group but we match up with them really well” he said.

“We didn’t play our best basketball against them but we exceptional defensively even if we turned the ball over too much, and we believe we can beat them again. It would be a massive achievement to reach the play-off stages, and we’re looking to do that on Wednesday.”

Lions will be without Holly Winterburn, Leah McDerment and Valentina Klocker due to injury, but go into the game on the back of a 100-45 victory at Newcastle Eagles which kept their perfect start to the domestic season going.

Home and away wins against both Rutronik Stars Keltern and Zabiny Brno mean that Castors  have already sealed top spot but the Belgians will be looking for a high seed in the knockout stages. They are led by Austrian shooting guard Aisling Konig, with the 23-year-old pouring in 18.8 points and dishing out 3.8 assists per game. Three other players are averaging double digits in points, with Valeriya Berezhynska and Quinn Dornstauder each scoring 11ppg, adding 7.4 and 7 rebounds respectively, and the former also providing 3.6 assists.

The game tips off at 6.30pm GMT and is available to watch free on the FIBA Youtube channel.