Uncapped quartet named in GB squad

29 March 2012 / 19:19

Great Britain women's coach Tom Maher has called four uncapped players into a preliminary squad of 20 to prepare for the London Olympics.

While the group is led by British Basketball's 2011 Player of the Year Julie Page and star forward Jo Leedham - who plays for Maher at club level in Australia - the strong accent on youth catches the eye.

Bonnie Samuelson, who has enjoyed an outstanding freshman season with Stanford University as they prepare for the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament this weekend, is one of several college players hoping to survive the first round of cuts before a training camp for 18 players opens on May 5, Samuelson's 19th birthday.

There is also a place for the 19-year-old Temi Fagbenle, who led Britain in rebounds at the Under-20s tournament in Serbia last summer despite a troublesome knee injury.

Dominique Allen and Kristina Collins also get the chance to win their first cap.

"I am very pleased and excited with the squad we have coming into camp this year," Maher said.

"There is a lot of young talent who are the next generation of basketball players in Great Britain and they will learn a lot from some of the more experienced members of the squad."

The old guard of Kim Butler, Stef Collins, Sarah McKay and Natalie Stafford are included, while Jeneya Wade-Frey returns from injury and Sarah Naylor gets a call after strong performances for the Sheffield Hatters. However, Mairi Buchan and Roz Mason both miss out.

Maher is due to name his final squad of 12 on June 22, midway through a busy schedule of Test games home and abroad ahead of the Games. The team play two games in Edinburgh on June 9-10, and will also play in front of their home fans in Sheffield and Manchester in mid-July.

Preliminary squad: Dominique Allen (Oral Roberts University), Rose Anderson (UWIC Archers), Kim Butler (SK Cesis), Kate Butters (UWIC Archers), Kristina Collins (Simon Fraser University), Stef Collins (UWIC Archers), Temi Fagbenle (Harvard University), Steph Gandy (Sheffield Hatters), Chantelle Handy (Athinaikos), Georgia Jones (Oral Roberts University), Jo Leedham (Bulleen Boomers), Sarah McKay (Barking Abbey Leopards), Sarah Naylor (Sheffield Hatters), Julie Page (Torun), Bonnie Samuelson (Stanford University), Natalie Stafford (Sydney University Flames), Azania Stewart (University of Florida), Lauren Thomas-Johnson (Sheffield Hatters), Rachel Vanderwal (University of Limerick), Jeneya Wade-Fray (UWIC Archers).