COLLINS BLOW AHEAD OF OPENER

Stef Collins is out of Great Britain’s squad for their opening EuroBasket Women qualifier against Montenegro.

The country’s most-capped player was a notable absentee when the squad flew out from London on Thursday morning with 12 players bound for Podgorica for Saturday’s clash.

Despite hopes she could recover from an injury sustained early in the season, the veteran point guard will miss the start of the campaign, British Basketball confirmed, in a blow to new coach Chema Buceta.

However the Spaniard will hand debuts to Spanish-based forward Jamila Thompson along with teen prospects Eleanor Jones and Savannah Wilkinson after opting to give youth a chance with one eye on the future.

“It was a big surprise because I have been focused in the last few months on my move to Madrid,” Thompson said.

“Suddenly I was told I had been invited to camp and so it was a little bit of a shock – then now this.”

Dee Hayward has been omitted from the roster following a three-day camp in Surrey but will re-join the squad on standby for next week’s meeting with Italy in Manchester.

Squad: Allen (Vienna), Handy (Pesci), G Jones, E Jones (Leicester), Leedham (Bourges), Naylor (Sheffield), Simpson (Zamarat), Stewart (Promete), Thompson (Cref), Clark, Vanderwal (Guernica), Wilkinson (Barking Abbey)

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