Helen Freeman says helping Great Britain to their best ever finish at the Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship is a “great achievement” but believes there is plenty more to come from the side.
The 24-year-old, who lives in Cassiobury, played a vital role in helping the team advance in the competition and was the third highest points scorer overall.
“We had a mixed bag of results but it is really pleasing to have made a little bit of history, it is pretty cool,” said Freeman.
“We are happy to have achieved fifth but we have got so much more we can work on and we can definitely improve.”
GB women’s team played their way to the quarter finals with wins over Brazil (56-37), Japan (62-48), and China (64-47) – only losing out to the eventual champions Canada (52-59) and runners-up Germany (33-55).
The quarter final saw Great Britain take on reigning world champions the USA for a place in the semis. The American team eventually emerged victorious with a gritty 53-41 victory.
That meant the GB women entered the fifth to eighth place play-offs. Their first game was against France and they secured a 58-41 victory.
The GB team – whose highest finish at the World Championships had been sixth, achieved in both 2010 and 1994 – then took on the London 2012 Paralympic silver medallists Australia with both teams looking to end the Championship with a win and fifth spot.
In a close encounter, the GB Women opened up an 18-16 lead at the end of the first quarter before working to a 35-28 advantage at half time.
Australia, however, hit back in the third quarter to close the gap to just one point.
At the end of the fourth quarter, Australia’s Amber Merritt tied the game on 64 points apiece and the match went into overtime.
The GB Women’s team showed great composure during overtime to close out a 77-70 win.
It was the second time Freeman has competed at the World Championships and she says her added experience was invaluable.
She continued: “I have been to two Paralympics and that was my second Worlds, so you do get more comfortable. I didn’t know that I was the third highest points score, that is a nice little achievement.
“What we have got to focus on now though as a team is getting better and hopefully we’ll be able to qualify for the Paralympics in Rio, Brazil, in 2016.
“Obviously nothing is likely to top London 2012, that was an incredible experience to compete at a home Games. But to compete in a third Paralympics would be great, it won’t be easy to get there though.
“Next year’s European Championships are also the qualifiers. Four teams go through and we face strong competition from the likes of Germany and the Netherlands.
“But hopefully we can do well and get a place at Rio. Competing at the Paralympics is an experience like no other and I’d love to do it again.”