Basko, Rabi Upbeat After Weekend

EuroBasket Women 2011
8. Gunta Basko (Latvia)
Gunta Basko will once again lead Latvia in Poland at Eurobasket Women 2011

Latvia captain Gunta Basko insists the mood remains positive in the camp even as they have struggled through their preparations for the EuroBasket Women.

Latvia ended a run of five defeats by edging out Poland 60-59 in a warm-up tourmament at the weekend, needing overtime to do it, and it was a much-needed victory as pressure grew on the team from back home.

"I think we had been competitive before, but a victory is a victory, and it was high time we had one," Basko said. "I don't think we had been playing badly, but we could not get any success.

"In some games, we had been playing well in defense but not offense, and in others the other way around. When we put it together we got a victory."

While the run of defeats led to questions being raised, Basko said the players were unconcered by their results at the moment.

"Test matches are for you to test, to try different tactical schemes and sequences," she said, while insisting that the questions had not affected the team.

"We do not read what people say on the internet," she said. "We focus on the work we do and the support of each other. There are no problems - the team is working together."

Latvia have been drawn alongside France, Croatia, and Greece in Group D of the EuroBasket Women.

Rabi Still Optimistic For Israel

Coach Eli Rabi remains optimistic about Israel's prospects at the EuroBasket Women despite them suffering three defeats at the hands of France, Belgium and Greece in warm-up games this weekend.

Eli Rabi
"I did not expect miracles or surprises" - Israel head coach Eli Rabi

Israel were on the wrong end of a pair of big defeats in Bourg-en-Bresse, going down 76-40 to France and 80-51 to Belgium, while they also lost 79-70 to Greece.

But with a little over two weeks left until the EuroBasket tips off on June 18, Rabi is confident their problems can be fixed.

"This was a weak tournament for us, but you are going to have times like this," he said.

"I wanted to get an indication of our ability. I did not expect miracles or surprises. It was important to see what our capacity is. I believe that the championship will be fine.

"We obviously need to improve defensively, and our physical fitness is not yet the best, but nevertheless we played some good basketball."

Shooting guard Shay Doron echoed those thoughts.

"During preparations we are trying all sorts of things, so the goal is not just to win, the goal is to experiment and see which things work and which things we need to improve on," she said.

"We had positives minutes in the games, and we can continue to get better and get fitter because some of the players here have not played since March.

"I believe we will be okay. We are a good team. We must not forget we were playing against France, who are ranked first in Europe, and Greece, ranked fifth. We have more to give."

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