Great Britain have failed to qualify in the women’s basketball since London hosted the 2012 event
Great Britain will not have a basketball team at Tokyo 2020 after their women’s team lost 79-69 to Spain in the Serbian capital Belgrade.
A win against the European champions would have seen GB qualify outright for an Olympics for the first time.
Chema Buceta’s team suffered a third successive loss with China, Spain and South Korea qualifying from the group.
GB fell behind early against Spain and rarely looked like closing a double-figure deficit.
With the three previous British basketball squads qualifying for the Olympic Games as hosts – the 1948 men’s squad and the 2012 men’s and women’s teams – Buceta’s side were fighting for a first place through qualification.
After finishing fourth in 2019’s EuroBasket finals, GB went into the tournament confident but after losing 86-76 to China and 82-79 to South Korea, they had to beat Spain in order to qualify.
Although Spain could afford to lose to GB and still qualify in a three-way tie with them and Korea, the European champions were in no mood to lose a second game in a row after they were beaten by China on Saturday.
Their 12-0 run in the first quarter established the lead for them and after GB’s slower tempo settled them, Spain’s lead never got out of hand in the first half.
After that, the game looked a lot like Saturday’s loss to South Korea, with GB always trailing in double figures and looking for the chance to make the run that would square or win the game.
When the run came, it came too late to offer a chance of a win. Chantelle Handy’s three and two and four points from Samuelson left GB 77-69 down with one minute 23 seconds remaining, and Spain showed the composure of European champions to leave GB the non-qualifiers from Belgrade.
Other result: South Korea 60-100 China
*Team qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics