|02 May 2013|
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013
|Gintare Petronyte will lead the Lithuanian youth brigade in France this summer|
Algirdas Paulauskas will be without three of his most senior and influential players when Lithuania take to the floor in Trelaze next month, meaning he will rely on his young guns to fire his team to success.
Announcing his initial 17-name preliminary roster, the play-caller was not able to include Rima Valentiene, Sandra Linkeviciene or Egle Sulciute.
Both Valentiene and Linkeviciene have a stopped short of officially announcing their retirements, with the latter not playing club basketball last season. The guard took a sabbatical after helping Lithuania confirm their place in France, having led the way in assists and steals during qualification, when she played more minutes than anybody else.
Sulciute meanwhile is adamant that she needs the summer to regain full health and fitness after suffering a succession of injuries.
The other issue is whether Ausra Bimbaite confirms her intention to play, having not participated last summer. Despite being named, it is understood she is still deciding on whether to suit up. Certainly the participation of the Dynamo Kursk player would have a huge bearing on the teams' prospects of success.
But, despite some key absences, there are plenty of reasons for Lithuanian fans to be excited with a new generation of players ready to make their mark.
Those waiting to make a splash is former FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year Ginatre Petronyte who was sensational during qualification, posting 18.3 points and 11.5 rebounds an outing, whilst of course having made a huge impact back during 2009 in Latvia.
Other talents include the likes of 1990-born duo Marina Solopova and Giedre Paugaite, who could both play pivotal roles when Lithuania match-up against Belarus, Croatia and Czech Republic in Group D.
Before EuroBasket Women begins, Coach Paulauskas will oversee an extensive preparation programme, beginning with a training camp next week and then a tournament in Poland which will see games against Belarus (17 May), Poland (18 May) and Ukraine (19 May).
The team will then face neighbours Latvia in Riga (25 May) in what has become an annual fixture, before playing in a tournament in France against Russia in Toulouse (30 May), France in Lyon (31 May) and Belarus in Valesas (01 June).
The final preparation will involve a tournament on home soil in Panevezys against Japan (06 June); China (09 June); Sweden (10 June); and then Japan again (11 June).
The full roster is as follows: Gabriele Gutkauskaite (Fortuna Klaipeda), Inesa Visgaudaite (Toulouse),Greta Sniokaite (Kibirkstis Vilnius), Marina Solopova (Edremit), Mante Kvederaviciute ( Laisve Kaunas), Ausra Bimbaite (Dynamo Kursk), Kamile Nacickaite (CUS Chieti), Kristina Vengryte (Kibirkstis Vilnius), Giedre Paugaite (USO Mondeville),Lina Pikciute (Kibirkstis Vilnius), Gintare Petronyte (Taranto), Kristina Alminaite (Kibirkstis Vilnius), Rasa Zemantauskaite (Sirenos), Monika Grigalauskyte (Fortuna Klaipeda), Laura Svaryte (Aistes-LSU Kaunas), Iveta Salkauske (Sirenos), Egle Siksniute (Fortuna Klaipeda)