New Great Britain women’s coach Jose Maria Buceta has named Jo Leedham in his initial squad of 16 for next month’s EuroBasket Women 2017 qualifiers against Montenegro and Italy.

Leedham, who opted out of EuroBasket Women 2015, re-joins the core of the side that finished in last place at the championships in Hungary including Olympians Stef Collins, Rachael Vanderwal, Azania Stewart and Chantelle Handy.

Buceta, who watched the opening weekend of the WBBL season last week in Loughborough, opts for eight players from the domestic league with reigning WBBL Young Player of the Year, Savannah Wilkinson of Barking Abbey Crusaders, getting her first senior call-up along with Spanish-based prospect Jamila Thompson.

However Edinburgh Kool Kats Hannah Peacock, the final cut from the EuroBasket roster, is a surprise omission.

“I am looking forward to working with this group of players,” Buceta said.

“I was particularly pleased to see so many players in person at the recent WBBL opening weekend and to view some of the talent we have and especially so many young and emerging players.

“I think that with this current squad we have a good combination of experience and youth to form a team where everybody can take the individual responsibility in order to collectively help each other.”

GB travel to Montenegro on Saturday 21 November and then play the first of three successive home qualifiers on Wednesday at the Amaechi Centre in Manchester against Italy. They will open training camp in Surrey six days before their opener.

“We face a great challenge against high level teams during qualifying,” Buceta added. “But I expect to be ready to compete and to achieve our goal.”

British Basketball sources have told MVP that February’s home ties with Albania and Montenegro are likely to be held at either the new Leicester Arena or the upcoming Belle Vue complex in Manchester.


Dominique Allen (Flying Foxes Vienna), Ella Clark, Rachael Vanderwal (Gernika), Stef Collins (Cardiff Met Archers), Chantelle Handy (Pesci 424), Deanne Hayward, Georgia Jones, Eleanor Jones, Erin McGarrachan (Leicester Riders), Johannah Leedham (Bourges), Helen Naylor (Sheffield Hatters), Chantelle Pressley (Sevenoaks Suns), Eilidh Simpson (CD Zamarat), Azania Stewart (Campus Promete), Jamila Thompson (Cref Hola), Savannah Wilkinson (Barking Abbey Crusaders)


Pic: Mansoor Ahmed

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