09 Dec 14
EuroBasket Women 2015 promises to be a fascinating battle for the Great Britain senior women as they bid to realise their Olympic 2016 dream.
They will now complete the first round on Monday by taking on the hosts, and tournament favourites, France but the first target has now been achieved, confirmed the head coach.
"We set out the goal seven weeks ago to make it to the second round," Jennings said. "To do it in the first two games makes life a little easier going into the third game, but we'll certainly be coming back to give France the best game we've got."
The result ensures Britain will match their run to round two achieved two years ago in Poland.
"There's lot of teams that can win one game," added Jennings. "But to follow it up and win two games, that's what the best teams do. That's what championship teams do. We're in the second round and pleased to be there."
GB won the rebounding battle 50-29 and time and again it translated into scoring opportunities.
Stef Collins, the team's most-capped player, sparked an early 9-0 run that sent her side 16-10 in front at the end of the opening quarter.
Although the Latvians cut the gap to one early in the second period, Azania Stewart began a run of seven unanswered points in a 14-4 burst that extended GB's advantage to 11 before Ieva Krastina converted from long-range to cut the deficit to 32-24 at half-time.
The pressure kept coming from Latvia and a 13-4 spurt, capped by Krastina, pushed them in front midway through the third but their lead was brief.
GB forward Chantelle Handy, on her 26th birthday, put GB 38-37 in front and they never trailed again with 12-4 burst late in the third finished off by a huge three pointer from Butler.
And although Latvia, paced by 12 points from Krastina, turned up the heat, another late streak of seven points in a row from Britain pushed them out of reach.
"I'm just so impressed with this team's response once again," Jennings said. "This sport is a game of runs. Ultimately there were moments when Latvia came back at us. It takes a certain type of cohesion, chemistry and group spirit to win which we've had from day one."
It leaves GB in first place in Group C ahead of France's meeting with Serbia on Sunday evening.
"This was a great victory for us," Butler commented. "Coming in 2-0 in our second European Championships means a great deal to the national team. We've very proud."
Jennings' team will try to pull off a third victory and top their pool on Monday night (8pm BST), as well as avenging their 80-77 overtime loss to France in the group stages of last summer's Olympics.
"That left a very bitter taste in our mouths," confirmed Leedham, who plays for French club Bourges. "We know France are a very smart team with a very solid point guard in Celine (Dumerc) and Edwige (Lawson-Wade) backing her up. So they have very smart playmakers. We just have to be smart, execute and play tough."