EuroBasket: GB top scorer Temi Fagbenle to miss Lithuania match

Temi Fagbenle
Temi Fagbenle is the 7th-highest scorer out of 22 teams across Europe in this year's qualifying games

Great Britain top scorer Temi Fagbenle will miss Wednesday's vital EuroBasket 2015 qualifier against Lithuania at Worcester for academic reasons.

Fagbenle, 21, a student at Harvard University, is starting an internship in South Africa as part of her degree course and will miss the match.

The 6ft 4in forward averaged 17 points and 7.1 rebounds for GB this summer.

GB will qualify for the finals if they beat Lithuania. Results in other groups could also help them through.

If they lose and finish second, GB could still reach next year's finals in Romania and Hungary if they are one of the best five runners-up in the six qualifying groups.

Group BPWLFAPts
Lithuania5414483449
Great Britain5413403139
Belgium5233713547
Macedonia5053044525

GB coach Peter Buckle said Fagbenle had been given special dispensation by Harvard to take part in the GB programme for five weeks, but that ended after Sunday's 71-60 win over Macedonia.

"We were lucky enough to have Temi for five games out of six - originally it was only two out of six," Buckle told BBC Sport. "Temi did everything she could and it was great to have her back in the fold for five games."

Even without Fagbenle, Buckle said his team were more than capable of beating Lithuania. "Lithuania are an unbelievably good team - it's incredible that they're not at the World Championships this year.

"But we didn't play a great game of basketball in Lithuania - we can definitely play better than that - certainly our players think that."

With Fagbenle's imminent departure known to the players, bench players Dominique Allen and Lauren Thomas-Johnson both made major contributions in the win over Macedonia with 15 points apiece.

"Our bench has grown and can take on more responsibility," said Buckle. "We just have to continue to grow. This about just having to get to EuroBasket 2015."

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