PAGE LOOKS FOR EXTRA PUSH IN TURKEY

Great Britain captain Julie Page is expecting further progress on the road to Eurobasket in this week’s warm-up tournament in Antalya.

Tom Maher’s side faces Montenegro on Wednesday in their fourth friendly of the summer, meeting hosts Turkey on Thursday before finishing off the four-nation event against Croatia on Friday.

With just three weeks to go until GB begin their first-ever major basketball championships, Maher acknowledges there is still much to do, despite signs of promise in last week’s trio of tune-ups in Guildford.

And Page believes it’s important that the national side continues to push forward in unison.

`It’s already been different after the first few games,” said the Manchester-born forward.

“You’re finally playing opponents who don’t know your plays. It’s not like going up against your own team. The first game (against Germany) was definitely difficult but we saw steps forward every day. The goal for this week is to take taking those little steps forward because that will stand us in good stead for Poland.”

Maher is still nursing a number of players back to full health and fitness with Jo Leedham’s return date still uncertain as she continues her rehab, along with Yemi Oyefuwa’s knee problem which has limited her involvement.

With a solitary win over Latvia, the Australian received a timely boost, with Natalie Stafford (right) among those impressing. Although this week represents another daunting task, Page senses that there can be a further lift.

“Our thing is to be fighters,” she said. “Once we get organised, we fight together and that’s our game. I think we started to see that last week. We fought and worked hard. The point guards did a good job of leading us. The posts got stuck into their jobs. Everyone was beginning to find their rhythm.

“We know our shot selection (in Guildford) could have been better. But that comes from being organised and understanding all the plays. We’re still getting that done. I think with more game experience, the shooting will definitely improve.”

GB will fly back – ash clouds permitting – on Saturday in time for Sunday’s glamour friendly against the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream at the MEN Arena. A tough spell, Page admits. But it will ready the side for what lies in store at Eurobasket.

“There’s no point in having easy games,” she stated. “Poland is going to challenge us.

“So we need to be challenged and these three games are going to be good for us.”

FIXTURES – Times BST

Wednesday 25

Antalya Invitational. Great Britain v Montenegro (3pm), Turkey v Croatia (5.15)

Thursday 26

Antalya Invitational. Great Britain v Turkey (5.15), Montenegro v Croatia (3pm)

Friday 27

Antalya Invitational. Great Britain v Croatia (2pm), Turkey v Montenegro (4.15)

Sunday 29

Friendly (MEN Arena). Great Britain v Atlanta Dream (5pm, ESPN)

Photos: Wooller.com

 

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