|11 June 2013|
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013
|Damian Jennings was given plenty of food for thought when it came to deciding on his 12 players to travel to France|
Recently appointed Damian Jennings has finalised his first roster ahead of his inaugural tournament holding the coaching reins for Great Britain.
Despite having had the considerable satisfaction of welcoming back Johannah Leedham - the ace in the British pack - the play-caller will have to cope without three of his teams' top contributors from last summers' Olympics in Julie Page, Temi Fagbenle and Natalie Stafford.
But, the retirement of Stafford has belatedly opened the door for Stephanie Gandy, one of three players who have been handed a tournament debut by Jennings.
The naturalised Gandy has certainly had to be patient, since former head coach Tom Maher always preferred Stafford, but this time she will finally get to step out.
She will be joined by Oral Roberts University graduate and playmaker Georgia Jones, who was also regularly overlooked by Maher and has finished her first pro-season in the Romanian League.
Meanwhile forward Ella Clark is still playing NCAA basketball with Long Beach State University and has worked with Jennings at U20 level.
However, two other players who have also been part of the successful U20 programme facilitated by Jennings haven't been included. Neither Renee Busch nor Kristie Sheils were given the nod, whilst Rosalee Mason also misses out - although the coach was quick to point out how hard they had all pushed for a spot.
He said, "I would like to firstly thank Roz, Kristie and Renee for making this team better.
"Their de-selection was a very tough decision and all three players represented themselves incredibly well.
"Although Roz may be coming closer to her final basketball years, Kristie and Renee represent a crop of players coming through from our under-20's and Futures programmes and I have no doubt both will be back to cement a place in next year's senior GB team."
He continued, "It is exciting to now finish our last few practices with the final 12 players before travelling to France on Wednesday.
"The spirit of this group has been excellent since day one and I have no doubt the players are looking to representing Great Britain to the best of their ability this summer."
Great Britain will open up their Group C campaign on Saturday against Serbia in Trelaze and will also play both the hosts and Latvia.
The full roster is as follows: Dominique Allen (Nova Bologna), Rose Anderson (Cercle Sainte Paul Rezé Basket), Kimberly Butler (SK Cesis), Ella Clark (Long Beach State University), Stefanie Collins (Cardiff Archers), Stephanie Gandy (Sheffield Hatters), Chantelle Handy (Mersin), Georgia Jones (Cluj Napoca), Johannah Leedham (Bourges Basket), Azania Stewart (PINKK-Pecsi 424), Lauren Thomas-Johnson (Sheffield Hatters), Rachael Vanderwal (University of Limerick)