EuroBasket qualifying: GB women unchanged for Poland opener

By Rob DugdaleBBC Sport
GB coach Jose Maria Buceta
Chem Buceta's Great Britain side will take 451 days to complete their lengthy qualifying campaign

Great Britain's women are set to take an unchanged line-up into their opening EuroBasket 2021 qualifier in Poland on Thursday (17:00 GMT).

Chem Buceta's squad broke new ground for a British team in reaching the semi-finals of this year's EuroBasket.

Buceta, GB coach since 2015, wants the team to build on its success for the long qualification phase.

"It's good to remember what we did, but now it's time to write a new page, beginning with this game," he said.

GB have named the same squad of 12 players that finished fourth in Belgrade with four wins out of seven games, and added two more players.

"Continuity is a good thing because of the short international windows for EuroBasket qualification - we just have a few days to put a team together so it's not the moment to make a lot of changes," Buceta told BBC Sport.

GB play away to Poland in Walbrzych on Thursday and then host Belarus at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester on Sunday in the first two games of their bid to reach the EuroBasket 2021 finals.

The Belarus game will be shown live on the BBC Sport website, app and connected TV.

Although the three teams play only four games each it will take 451 days to complete them, because the Olympics qualifying tournament and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games take centre stage for the women's game after the turn of the year.

GB will play in that Olympics qualifier by virtue of reaching last summer's EuroBasket semi-finals and will find out in the next few days which teams they will face in February's tournament.

GB captain Stef Collins, who is expected to win her 157th cap against Poland, believes the team will ignore any distraction a possible Olympics spot might pose.

"Of course we're aware of that tournament but our mentality is about what we do today," said Collins, who played in the London 2012 Olympics.

"It was like that at EuroBasket - we took it training by training, game by game."

Great Britain squad: Mollie Campbell (Durham - age 24, caps 17), Chantel Charles (Clarinos, Spa - 25, 0), Stef Collins (Cardiff - 36, 156), Temi Fagbenle (Botas, Tur - 27, 59), Nicolette Fong (Durham - 27, 10), Cheridene Green (Gorzow, Pol - 24, 13), Chantelle Handy (Braine, Bel - 32, 127), Georgia Jones (Manchester - 29, 68), Johannah Leedham-Warner (Orman, Tur - 31, 88), Janice Monakana (Sevenoaks - 24, 15), Karlie Samuelson (Avenida, Spa - 24, 15), Hannah Shaw (Sarcedo, Ita - 29, 18), Eilidh Simpson (Ostrava, Cze - 27, 45), Rachael Vanderwal (Namur, Bel - 36, 111).

Women's EuroBasket 2021 qualifying fixtures (times GMT)

14 November 2019: v Poland (Walbrzych, 17:00)

17 November 2019: v Belarus (Manchester, 17:00)

15 November 2020: v Poland (H - TBA)

4 February 2021: v Belarus (A - TBA)

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