- National Teams
Great Britain Senior Women stunned hosts Slovenia 76-71 in their EuroBasket Women opener on Thursday evening at the Arena Stožice.
GB fought back from as many as 18 down in the first half, showing their resolve as they rode big performances from Kristine Anigwe and Holly Winterburn.
Anigwe finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block, while Winterburn had 15 points, 7 rebounds and six assists.
“Just a huge win, a huge win,” Winterburn said after the game.
“I know we went 18 down but every time they hit us we just got back up, we played the best we could. They made it difficult for us, they were moving so much on offence. That’s the GB way, we got knocked down, we got back up and found a way to win the game.”
Temi Fagbenle and Sydney Wallace added 14 each.
“I told the players it was a victory of faith,” GB Head Coach Chema Buceta said in the post-game presser.
“We really believed in ourselves, we were 18 points down in the first, but we focused on the things we had to do to improve and we did it. It’s a very important win for us, it’s the first game of the competition and it’s a better to win then to lose!
“I want to congratulate our players, they showed character and showed they can do big things here.”
Despite hanging in the early stages, a 10-0 burst in the final two minutes of the first period punctuated by a three-point buzzer beater saw Slovenia gain a 23-11 advantage after one.
The deficit continued, as GB would not score for five minutes as Slovenia pulled in front by 18 points seemingly killing off GB.
However, GB refused to go down. Anigwe, Winterburn and Fagbenle spearheaded their own 13-0 run to pull right back into the game.
Winterburn stayed hot in the third, knocking down back to back tough three-pointers, giving GB their first lead of the game.
Kiki knocked down a three to extend GB’s lead to 69-60 with six minutes to play, and they would hold off Slovenia the rest of the way in a tense finish.