Eurobasket 2017: Great Britain at full strength for crucial Italy qualifier

GB training session
GB captain Stef Collins missed last November's game against Italy

Great Britain's women are at full strength for Saturday's crucial Eurobasket 2017 qualifier in Italy.

Temi Fagbenle, recently drafted by WNBA team the Minnesota Lynx, returns after missing the past four qualifiers because of US college commitments.

A defeat in Lucca almost certainly eliminates GB, who qualified for the previous three European finals but are ranked third in their qualifying group.

They are also awaiting decisions on future funding for GB basketball teams.

"As players, we're trying not to worry about the funding side," said leading scorer Johannah Leedham at the team's training camp in Manchester.

"We're here representing our country, trying to do family and everyone in the country proud and get the win.

"And if we do, hopefully the funding will jump on board."

Fagbenle and captain Stef Collins were both absent from the team that lost to Italy in Manchester a year ago, but are in the squad for both Saturday's game, and Wednesday's in Tirana, Albania.

"We learned a lot from that - it was a game we felt we should have won," said Collins. "I feel like we're in a good position right now."

Only the top team in each of the nine qualifying groups is certain to qualify for Eurobasket 2017, with the six best second-placed teams joining them.

GB lost in Montenegro and at home to Italy before securing victory over Albania and a thrilling comeback win over Montenegro.

"We've got to work off the momentum we got from the Montenegro game," said Leedham. "It was huge, so it's another opportunity for us to do something special and everyone's excited about it."

Great Britain's best path to qualification (assuming they and Montenegro beat Albania):

  • They must beat Italy by as big a margin as possible
  • Italy must win in Montenegro in the following game to ensure GB finish second in their group
  • GB then have to be one of the six best second-placed teams
Group C table
TeamPlayedWonLostForAgainstPts
* Teams are awarded two points for a win and one for a defeat
Italy4403241828
Montenegro4223002316
Great Britain4223052416
Albania4041534284

Top Stories