Great Britain v LatviaGreat Britain are headed to Round 2 of EuroBasket Women. They remain unbeaten after two games of the first phase after a gutsy 69-56 win over Latvia on Sunday in Trélazé.

Led by Kim Butler’s haul of 14 points and nine rebounds, they sparkled. And got the result they wanted and deserved.

The only question now is: how far can they go?

Confidence will not be a problem.

“I’m very impressed with our game,” said GB coach Damian Jennings. “Our goal was to be in the second round and we’re pleased to be there.”

Asserting their dominance on the boards which eventually brought 22 second-chance points from 2 rebounds,  GB imposed themselves on the Latvians early and it soon paid dividends.

A 9-0 run, started by Stef Collins, and finished with a three-pointer from Jo Leedham, put their side in front with 2:13 left in the opening quarter.

And although their foes closed the gap to 18-17 with a 7-2 burst at the start of the second, Lauren Thomas-Johnson – making her competition debut – came off the bench to cap a flurry of seven unanswered points in a 14-4 that extended their advantage.

Leedham remains a totem (Mansoor Ahmed/BB)

Leedham remains a totem (Mansoor Ahmed/BB)

If not for Ieva Krastina’s late jumper from long-range, it could have been even more. Up 32-24 at half-time, Britain were tidy in their execution and relentless in their hustle.

The Latvians, quarter-finalists in 2011, are not short on a little guile.

Emerging for the second half, they caught GB cold. A 13-4 spurt, capped on the break by Krastina, pushed them in front once more.

But Jennings got the necessary response. 12 of the next 16 points went his team’s way with Kim Butler hitting a three to give Britain a 48-41 lead headed into the fourth.

And although Butler quickly picked up her fourth foul, she continued to sparkle. A 7-0 run accelerated her team 59-48 ahead with Collins and Thomas-Johnson providing a spark in the backcourt and although the Latvians pressed ferociously, their resistance proved futile.

“I’m just so impressed with this team’s response once again,” Jennings said. “This sport is a game of runs. Ultimately there were moments went Latvia came back at us. It takes a certain type of cohesion, chemistry and group spirit which we’ve had from day one.”

Krastina paced Latvia with 11 points, with Leedham adding 11 for GB.

GB will try to finish off Group C unbeaten when they take on France on Monday evening.

The tournament hosts were dominant as they demolished Serbia 76-32.

But their next opponent won’t allow themselves to be intimidated.

“We’ll take it the same,” Butler said. “France is an amazing team, Olympic silver medallists. But we just have to worry about us.”

Game stats


GB-Latvia (16-10, 32-24, 48-43)

Elsewhere, Lithuania became the first team to be eliminated with a Group D loss to the Czech Republic, who will be one of GB’s three opponents in the second round in Vendespace along with Belarus and Croatia.

SCHEDULE (Times local)

A/4 Slovakia 75-68 Ukraine
A/3 Turkey 66-57 Montenegro

B/4 Italy 59-71 Spain
B/3 Russia 59-71 Sweden

C/4 Great Britain 69-56 Latvia
C/3 France 76-32 Serbia

D/4 Croatia 43-57 Belarus
D/3 Czech Republic 70-51 Lithuania

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