Eurobasket 2017: GB women thrash Albania in qualifying

By Rob DugdaleBBC Sport
Johannah Leedham
Leedham plays her club basketball with Tango Bourges in France

Great Britain women secured a one-sided 122-36 victory over Albania in their third Eurobasket 2017 qualifying match in Manchester.

GB scored the first 12 points of the game and were 63-22 ahead at half-time against Group C's weakest team.

Johannah Leedham led the scoring with 22 points, while Rachael Vanderwal and Ella Clark added 15 each.

Despite the win, Britain remain third in their groupexternal-link with three games still to play.

GB have already lost by double-figure margins to Italy and Montenegro and face an uphill task to qualify as one of the nine group winners, or as one of the six second-placed teams.

However, Italy's 57-56 win over Montenegro in Schio on Saturday gives GB hope for Wednesday's game in Manchester against the Montenegrins.

Head coach Jose Maria Buceta and GB basketball
Head coach Buceta will hope for a repeat performance against Montenegro on Wednesday

Britain had far too much for Albania on Saturday, reaching the 100-points mark with eight minutes still to play as all 12 members of the squad scored points.

Their final two games, in Italy and Albania, will be played in November.

Great Britain's Helen Naylor said the easy win would not affect the team's focus for Wednesday.

"Obviously it would have been better to have a bit of a tougher game going into the Montenegro game," said the Sheffield Hatters guard.

"But it is what it is and we have stay focused and put in a couple of hard days' work at practice and focus on getting a win, because that's what we need."

Head coach Jose Maria Buceta said the return of captain and point guard Stef Collins, the team's playmaker who was missing in last November's defeats against Italy and Montenegro, is helping the team improve.

"The point guard position is very important," he said. "Stef's a very experienced player.

"Now we have Georgia Jones, who is doing very well, and Nicole How, so the point guard position is very well covered."

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