- National Teams
Peter Buckle is excited at welcoming 19 players into his preparation camp next month after confirming the Great Britain candidate list for EuroBasket Women 2015.
The play-caller is set to rely on the bulk of the team who punched a ticket last summer for what will be a third consecutive Final Round appearance at the prestigious event.
“I’m looking forward to getting started on court with our squad for 2015 and building upon what we achieved in 2014,” declared Buckle.
“The new faces added to our senior programme should mix well with our established seniors, adding further depth to the GB programme.
“We need to work hard to prepare for EuroBasket 2015, making the most of our time together and using the practice games to test ourselves.
“It is important that we use our preparation games firstly in France and then later in Spain, to prepare well for Final Round.”
He added, “These warm-up games are essential to our programme.”
Buckle will be boosted by the return of experienced Olympian Chantelle Handy and that will further strengthen a frontcourt which already boasts the likes of Azania Stewart and Temi Fagbenle.
There are also a number of places for established players who compete in the WBBL (Women’s British Basketball League), including GB legend Stef Collins and also Steph Gandy, who was recently crowned the first ever MVP of the newly established league.
The candidate list also incorporates several players who have impressed at U20 level, including the likes of University of Toledo duo Janice Monakana and Jay-Anne Bravo-Harriott, along with Scotland’s Hannah Peacock.
However the roster doesn’t include Kathryn Rendell or Lauren Thomas-Johnson, who both helped the team during last year’s successful qualification programme – while Jo Leedham who starred at EuroBasket Women 2013, won’t return for a third consecutive Final Round appearance.
“There are only a three players who aren’t available through injury or fitness and we are very happy to be welcoming back Chantelle Handy in particular to last year’s team,” said National Teams Director, Warwick Cann.
“We have a balance to the squad which offsets the losses, plus we have a year’s experience with our new nucleus – although losing Jo for a second year is obviously a blow because of her experience at the international level.
“It is important that we use this opportunity to integrate more younger players as we look to also build towards Tokyo 2020 as well as the obvious goal at hand ”
Meanwhile Leedham herself is disappointed to be missing out on the action, but was keen to express her full support to her team-mates.
She stated, “I wish the girls the very best for the tournament and I will be rooting for them to continue putting GB on the women’s basketball map.
“It is unfortunate that I can’t join them, but I need to spend this summer focusing on my health which will require an element of rest.
“The team showed during the qualification process last year what they are capable of and I know they will all fight hard to continue what has been a proud and successful journey.
“I also look forward to pulling the GB vest back over my head in the future.”
EuroBasket Women 2015 is a gateway to the Rio Olympics and will take place in Hungary and Romania during June.
The full preliminary roster is as follows:
Dominique Allen (SBS Ostrava, CZE)
Janice Monakana (University of Toledo, USA)
Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott (University of Toledo, USA)
Stef Collins (Cardiff Met Archers, GBR)
Ella Clark (Zamarat, GBR)
Temi Fagbenle (Harvard, USA)
Helen Naylor (Sheffield Hatters, GBR)
Stephanie Gandy (Sheffield Hatters, GBR)
Chantelle Handy (Ormanspor, TUR)
Nicole How (Sydney Uni Flames, AUS)
Georgia Jones (Leicester Riders, GBR)
Mrashi Karumba (Brixton Topcats, GBR)
Erin McGarrachan (Houston Baptist, USA)
Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby (Lafayette, USA)
Hannah Peacock (City of Edinburgh Kool Kats, GBR)
Chantelle Pressley (Nottingham Wildcats, GBR)
Eilidh Simpson (St Francis Brooklyn, USA)
Azania Stewart (Pinkk Pesci 424, HUN)
Rachael Vanderwal (Gernika Bizkaia, ESP)