27 Jan 15
Already a valued cornerstone of Great Britain senior women's success, the influence of Azania Stewart is likely to increase even further when the team step out at EuroBasket Women 2015.
Despite the loss to the EuroBasket 2011 runnners-up, Great Britain coach Chris Finch was positive, commending the effort shown by his players.
"We played well and to be honest we played well overall and we have gone a few steps forward now building up to the Olympics," Finch said.
"We played good basketball against a world quality opponent but we didn't respond well when the game got ugly in the second half but it's a great experience for these guys and we are still trying to grow together as a team.
"We have plenty of games to play yet against strong opposition so these guys are well on the way to being fully prepared for the Games."
Reinking added: "We played very well in the first half, we ran the floor well and hit some shots but we let the wheels fall off and in the second half they upped the intensity and we lost our momentum a bit and when they went on a run we just couldn't reply back.
"Overall, it was a good test and we can only get better. Sure we've lost our games but it's about team chemistry and improving game by game."
Pops Mensah-Bonsu got GB's first bucket of the game following a three-pointer from Nando De Colo. As the first quarter went on, the pace quickened and it seemed to favour the Brits. Lenzly hit two straight fast break three's for a 12-11 Great Britain lead, a little over half-way through the opening period.
Deng contributed too, hitting a three from the corner as GB ended the first with a 12-2 run, leading 24-15.
Five points in quick succession from Sheffield Sharks' Nate Reinking gave Great Britain a 29-15 advantage early in the second period. That lead ballooned to 36-17 following a three from Dan Clark.
An open three-pointer from Andrew Lawrence gave GB a 20-point lead 43-23, France responded from the free-throw line, but Great Britain enjoyed a commanding 43-25 lead at half-time.
France started the third the better of the two teams, as they reduced the lead to 45-33 thanks to an open lay-up from De Colo, forcing an early timeout from Finch.
Three-pointers from Deng and Clark restored GB's double-digit lead at 51-38. Deng hit a tough triple to extend the lead to 57-41 and Great Britain had a 61-53 lead at the end of the third.
After a sluggish start to the fourth, Reinking scored to give GB a 66-57 lead but a combination of poor passing and turnovers gave France the opportunity and they narrowed the gap to 66-63 which led to a GB timeout.
France tied the game at 68-68 with five minutes remaining. Mensah-Bonsu fouled out shortly afterwards as both teams couldn't score for over two minutes.
A three-point play from Boris Diaw gave France a 72-69 lead. Rob Archibald narrowed the lead to one but France held on for the win.
Both Diaw and Yakhouba Diaware led the French with 14 points.
For box score click here.