Roz Mason is set to win her 50th cap for Great Britain against Latvia on Thursday in Riga in the side’s penultimate warm-up friendly series before this month’s Eurobasket finals.

With GB coach Tom Maher set to name his final squad after Friday’s meeting with Slovakia, former WNBA Draft pick Jo Leedham will be handed a chance to prove her fitness after missing the entire build-up to date with a knee injury.

The absence of the team’s offensive focus has handed Mason the opportunity to re-establish herself in Maher’s rotation with a series of gritty performances during the past month.

And the 32-year-old Solna forward – who was one of England’s bedrocks before switching into the GB programme in 2006 – insists that everyone is determined to match Europe’s best and prove Britain deserves its Olympic place.

“Getting the decision from FIBA to play at the London Olympics has given everyone a real boost,” she declared.

“We had to prove we are competitive and we believe we can now go to Poland and give the top teams a run for their money.”

Maher watched his side edged out the Latvians 67-64 in Surrey almost three weeks ago, led by 18 from Natalie Stafford who has re-joined the squad next weekend.

With prior knowledge of their hosts in Riga, the Australian wants his players to take the opportunity to assess their opponents and figure out some options for themselves.

“It’s tough scouting on a daily basis,” he said. “Players have to be educated in filing a scouting report. We have to get familiar with the teams at the European Championships where you’re effectively scouting one day at a time.

“We played Latvia in Surrey so we’ve had them already this summer we let’s see what we’ve learnt from it.”

Maher is happy with how his side’s warm-up for EuroBasket is progressing after two days of workouts in the Baltics since leaving the team’s base in Guildford – with just two further friendlies in Slovakia to come next week.

“We’ve had a good week in practice, but now we’re here in Latvia, we have to show the improvement we’ve made and it’ll be a really good test for us,” he said.

“We’re aware of our goals but we’re not like the Americans, who can work on a couple of plays and rely on raw talent. We’re a team who have to work on specifics and developing our own style. We’re trying to find out what works for us, and what doesn’t, and make sure we play to our strengths.”

Meanwhile Nigeria have replaced New Zealand in the line-up for GB men’s warm-up tournament in Cobham in August.

The three-nation event will now see Chris Finch’s men face the Netherlands in the opener on Sunday August 7 and the Nigerians two days later with the two visiting sides squaring off on the day between.

It has also been confirmed that Britain will travel to Riga to meet Latvia in their eighth and final warm-up tie on August 27 before they travel into Lithuania for the Eurobasket finals.

Elsewhere, Great Britain’s Under-20 women start a three game series against France on Thursday.

The French, who were fourth in A Division last summer, will provide a stiff test for Damian Jennings’ side as they prepare for their first excursion into the top level.

It has been confirmed that Jennings line-up will host the Netherlands at the University of Glamorgan in two friendlies later this month. They will be held on Friday June 17 (5pm) and the following day (6pm).


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