EuroBasket Women: We’re ready, says GB coach Buceta

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GB Women at EuroBasket 2019
Venue: Riga, Latvia Date: 27 June – 7 July

Head coach Jose Maria Buceta says last weekend’s games have have convinced him his Great Britain Women’s team is ready for the EuroBasket finals in Latvia.

GB gained revenge over Sweden, who had previously beaten them, and lost narrowly to European champions Spain in a tournament in Madrid last weekend.

“We’ve been getting better game by game and and the progress has been good,” said Buceta, GB’s coach since 2015.

“So now we go to the tournament and I think we’re ready for EuroBasket.”

The performance against his native Spain – a two-point defeat – was probably the best of the six-game warm-up programme.

“We were playing the number two in the world, Olympic finalists and and I think we played a good game.” said Buceta. “But our main concern was to learn in order to prepare for EuroBasket.”

If GB can qualify from the first phase in Riga, they would travel to Belgrade for the quarter-finals, from which six of the eight teams will qualify for a place in next year’s Olympic qualifying tournaments.

The return of their two WNBA players – 2012 Olympian Temi Fagbenle and new recruit Karlie Samuelson – has added depth to the squad which will face Latvia, Spain and Ukraine in their first-round group.

“Every qualifying game that I’ve played in – and here – has been close,” said Samuelson after the back-to-back wins over Canada.

“But I love coming here with the team atmosphere and the girls – it’s my favourite team to play on.”

GB squad: Mollie Campbell (Club – Leicester; age 24; caps 10), Stef Collins (Cardiff – 36, 149), Georgia Jones (Manchester – 29, 60), Cheridene Green (Tennessee Uni, US – 23, 6), Temi Fagbenle (Polkowice, Pol – 26, 52), Chantelle Handy (Battipaglia, Ita – 32, 120), Johannah Leedham (Polkowice, Pol – 32, 81), Janice Monakana (Sevenoaks – 23, 8), Hannah Shaw (Cortegada, Ita – 28, 11), Karlie Samuelson (Braine, Bel – 24, 8), Eilidh Simpson (Dijon, Fra – 26, 38), Rachael Vanderwal (Gernika, Spa – 36, 104).

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