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WNBA star Temi Fagbenle hoping for GB funding U-turn

Wednesday 3 July 2019 16:48, UK

Fagbenle helped Great Britain into the quart-finals at EuroBasket 3:28
Temi Fagbenle helped Great Britain into the quarter-finals at EuroBasket

WNBA star Temi Fagbenle is hoping Great Britain's current run in the Women's EuroBasket will help boost the sport's continuing fight for funding.

Fagbenle will return to the league's most successful team, the Minnesota Lynx, after the Women's EuroBasket - where Great Britain have reached the quarter-finals.

Her 29 points in the play-off win against Montenegro helped the team book its place in the last eight - and with the top six teams going into the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics - she's hoping people will sit up and pay attention.

"We believe in ourselves. I don't think many others do, so I think it's a chance for us to show what we can achieve," she said.

"We do have team camaraderie for sure, team strength.

"We've come so far already so we have to just keep going and the sky's our limit. I don't know how far we will go, but we won't stop fighting, I know that."

Minnesota Lynx @ Dallas Wings 1:42
Highlights from the Minnesota Lynx's visit to the Dallas Wings in the WNBA

UK Sport has not supported British Basketball's elite set-up since the London Olympics and it has lived a hand-to-mouth existence ever since.

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The government agency's remit is to allocate money to sports with the best prospect of winning medals - and it says basketball had not done enough to show it could deliver at Tokyo 2020 or Paris 2024.

Fagbenle has been a vocal critic of the decision and she told Sky Sports' Sportswomen the failure to capitalise on the 2012 feel-good factor has damaged the sport in the long term.

"We all want to get a gold medal in the Olympics or whatever but it's not going to happen overnight so you've got to invest in the sport," she said.

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"Maybe the powers that be think it is going to happen overnight but that's just not how things work.

"I think 2012 helped put British basketball on the map a bit more, it was definitely very beneficial.

"It was a pivotal moment, in terms of our growth, and if we had the funding I think we could have just… our trajectory was like this (motions going up) and then the funding was cut and we kind of went like that (motions going down).

"And this was the time to do it and we could've just watched it grow together.

"It is frustrating because it's like we're on two different pages."

UK Sport says the funding issue is constantly under review and has previously promised to reappraise the potential of the women's team should they achieve qualification through EuroBasket.

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