Janice Monakana was celebrating playoffs success with Sevenoaks Suns at The O2 last month and is now competing on the international stage, in Riga.
The versatile forward took home MVP honours in that final triumph with the Suns with her form helping her land a spot on the GB Senior roster.
Monakana is one of five players – with Mollie Campbell, Cheridene Green, Karlie Samuelson and Hannah Shaw – competing for GB at a FIBA Women’s EuroBasket for the first time.
And, the University of Toledo alumni is relishing the experience and the opportunity to raise her game. A strong drive through the Spanish defence resembled the fearless approach, while four steals were just rewards for her energy and intensity on the defensive end.
“Coming here for the first time has been amazing,” Monakana declared. “I’m really enjoying it.
“It’s a great experience and being surrounded by great players every day is great for me.
“My team-mates are pushing me and it’s helping to push my game to the next level.”
After an impressive 74-60 victory over the tournament co-hosts Latvia on Thursday, GB suffered their first defeat last night as they went down 67-59 against the defending champions, Spain.
“It was still a really good effort from us,” stated Monakana. “We competed for the whole game. Both teams had highs and lows throughout.
“We can be proud of our performance and it was another good experience.
“We are still focused on our goal, that hasn’t changed so we will just go back and re-group for Sunday’s game against Ukraine.
“It’s been about taking it game by game and we will be ready for our next challenge.”
Ukraine have lost both of their games so far, though a win would likely be enough for a top-three finish. Victory for GB seals second spot – with first still a possibility – and only a 21-point loss against Ukraine or an unlikely Latvian win against Spain (with GB also losing) would see them go home early.
However, there is still plenty of reason for optimism and if GB can get past Ukraine on Sunday then a likely encounter against either Sweden or Czech Republic would present a golden opportunity to make the quarter-finals for the first time.
One game at a time, though.
Brad has been a writer for Hoopsfix since 2014 and has also had freelance roles at the BBL and with FIBA – working at two Women’s EuroBasket tournaments. Contact: [email protected]