Karlie Samuelson says it has been ‘easy’ to integrate with a ‘united’ Great Britain team.
The 24-year-old is a relative newcomer to a squad that features a lot of experience, making her GB debut in February last year.
But the Perfumerías Avenida sharpshooter was one of head coach Chema Buceta’s key players during the summer’s EuroBasket success as the team finished a record-high fourth in the competition.
And as GB continue their bid to qualify to the 2021 event with a game against Belarus in Manchester on Sunday, Samuelson is again expected to be integral to their hopes.
The California-born former Stanford star, who has played for the Los Angeles Sparks and Dallas Wings in the WNBA, featured in Thursday’s 75-63 win in Poland, scoring 15 points and taking eight rebounds.
That was the first game following the summer’s high and Samuelson said: “It feels so good to be back together again. We all dispersed after the summer for the start of the regular season and no matter where we are in the world, we all love being back as a group.
“EuroBasket was such an emotional high. Reflecting back, we are really proud of what we did and know we can live with these teams. We have moved into the top 20 in the world for the first time and for the players that have been part of the programme for a long time and for those of us who have joined a little later, it feels great to be recognised for our achievements.”
Samuelson, whose mum played netball for England, quickly established her credentials after committing to GB.
“It has been really easy to integrate into this team,” she added. “Chema and the players have been really welcoming.
“We play together, as a team so it has been simple to fit in. Team basketball is my favourite kind of basketball – it’s the way the game should be played – so I have just been able to slot in and get on with it.”
The Belarus game is the second of the qualifying group for the 2021 finals.
“After the Poland game, we just move on to the next one,” Samuelson said. “We’ll carry on with the same attitude – stay together, focused and play our game.
“I’m really excited to be back in Manchester. It feels like a real homecoming after the summer’s highs and we’d love for people to turn out and back us again against Belarus. It should be a good one.”
Get tickets for GB v Belarus at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester on Sunday, November 17 (5pm) HERE