GB GO DOWN TO GERMANY IN OPENING TUNE-UP

Great Britain women’s preparations for Eurobasket got under way in Guildford on Thursday with Tom Maher’s side losing 70-60 to Germany in their first friendly of the summer.

In what was the opening game of the four-nation Standard Life Invitational, the hosts – with 17 days of training camp behind them – fell away in the second half as the Germans took some revenge for two defeats in last year’s qualifiers.

Lauren Thomas-Johnson scored 12 points to lead GB, who meet Cuba – who defeated Latvia 73-60 (Stats) – in their second tie on Friday evening.

“We were beaten by the better team but there’s a point to these games, it’s about seeing who we are and what we need to do better,” said Maher. “We want to win, but today wasn’t the marker of whether we’ll be a successful team.

“Defensively we were poor and not to the level we need, but we are technically better than when we started last year which is a positive. We missed Jo Leedham, and although it’s disappointing we have to move on. You make mistakes, and if you can move on from them, you’re a winner.”

The Germans – paced by 19 from Anne Breitreiner – trailed 18-15 at the end of the first quarter and the home team pushed onwards as Kim Butler converted from long range to open up a 29-24 lead midway through the second.

However Breitreiner hit a three-pointer to cap a 7-2 run which put her side in front and although Thomas-Johnson drew GB level, the guests built on their 36-35 half-time advantage.

A 6-0 flurry sent them clear early in the third and en route to a 54-45 cushion headed into the fourth which proved insurmountable despite a 7 points and 10 assists contribution from Butler and a solid showing from Natalie Stafford (left) in the backcourt.

And Maher, Britain’s Australian coach, will look for better returns against the Cubans after watching his side commit 27 turnovers amid a ragged shooting performance.

“I think I’ve coached against them on 20 or 30 occasions and they’re a great team,” said Maher. “They are full-on aggressive, they play up-tempo basketball and will be high on energy.”

Match Stats

Women handed Games warning

Great Britain’s top performers have been warned that their Olympic Games hopes will be in jeopardy unless they land professional deals for next season.

A number of players came through their first games in almost ten months when GB met Germany.

Among the group is Rose Anderson took a year out of the sport to complete her university degree in Oklahoma. However, assistant coach Vanessa Ellis admits that ring rust has now put her place in the final squad for Poland under threat.

“She has got to be playing,” said Ellis. “We’ve sat down with Rose and Jeneya Wade-Frey and told them they need to get on a team next season to be considered for the Olympics. It’s not good enough to just be practicing or playing non-competitive games.

“We’ve seen over the last week that it takes longer to get back into things when you’ve not been playing at a high level. You have to adjust again to a faster pace and to making quick decisions.”

It has been confirmed that GB women will also play two games away against Slovakia next month as their final two warm-ups ahead of Eurobasket.

Pics: Dan Wooller/wooller.com

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