Basketball: Hatters stars play key role in British double

Hatters' GB guard Lauren Thomas-Johnson against Latvia yesterday. Photo by Mansoor Ahmed/Ahmedphotos.

Hatters' GB guard Lauren Thomas-Johnson against Latvia yesterday. Photo by Mansoor Ahmed/Ahmedphotos.

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Two of Sheffield Hatters triple winning squad are bringing the same mentality to the Great Britain team.

Steph Gandy and Lauren Thomas-Johnson have both played a key role in victories over the weekend that have secured Great Britain’s place in the second round of the EuroBasket tournament in France.

Ahead of their meeting with the hosts tomorrow at the Arena Loire in Trelaze the British team can already look forward to competing for a place in the knock-out stages of the tournament after wins against Serbia on Saturday and then Latvia today.

Thomas-Johnson didn’t play in the opening game but contributed seven-points against Latvia as Britain controlled the match almost from the tip-off.

After Britain had gone 11-10 ahead late in the first quarter they never trailed for the rest of the match.

With Hatters boss Vanessa Ellis as assistant coach for the team they led 16-10 at the first break and 32-24 at half time.

A Latvia rally was halted by Kim Butler’s three-point shot to end the third period with a 48-43 lead.

And a 15-7 run through the middle part of the fourth quarter made the match safe for Britain.

On Saturday Britain led 18-13 against Serbia at the end of the first quarter but saw their opponents out-score them in the second period to trim the deficit back to 41-38.

Serbia dominated after the interval to level the match at 43-43 before taking a 59-52 lead with ten minutes to play.

However, five points from Gandy early in the fourth quarter brought the British back within touching distance and a three from Rachel Vanderwal gave them the lead back for good at 67-65.

A further 9-3 run to closed the match.

Tournament favourites France will pose a stiff test tomorrow.

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