Great Britain start the road to EuroBasket Women 2021 when they face Poland tonight in Walbrzych.

A strong start required, insists head coach Chema Buceta, in what a three-team group that also includes Belarus.

But these are also two competitive tune-ups for February’s Olympic qualifiers with the British Basketball Federation understood to have gained financial support from UK Sport for that tournament which, in turn, provided vital funding for the start of the Euro campaign.

And, playing for the first time since a semi-final run at last summer’s EuroBasket that propelled the side into the top 20 of the world rankings for the first time, Buceta is determined that the momentum will continue despite the probable absence of the injured Jo Leedham.

“We’re beginning a new campaign with this game against Poland and it’s important for us to begin as strong as possible to increase our chances to qualify for the next EuroBasket,” he told the federation’s website.

“We have to follow a similar strategy that we have in the past, this means taking things game-by-game, playing together, supporting each other, playing good defence and respecting the opponent.

“Poland is a team with a lot of international experience with many Polish clubs present in European competitions. They will play very aggressive defence and display physical effort.

“We will need to fight as much as them and play very wise in offense in order to be able to score. We also have to play very good defence, which was one of our main weapons in the last EuroBasket. We must play together and trust each other to keep up the positive spirit within the team.”

The nine group winners and five best-placed runners-up will all proceed to the 2021 finals. This window is the first of three, with the second taking place in November 2020 and the last in February 2021.

Watch the game live from 5.15pm on MVP247.com

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