Head coach Stef Collins is excited about the prospect of seeing her Great Britain Women’s team build on a thrilling summer of 3×3 at the Europe Cup Finals in Paris this weekend.
GB will face Russia and the Ukraine on Saturday in the group stages after progressing undefeated from their qualifier in Romania.
In collaboration with Basketball England, GB entered men’s and women’s teams in the Europe Cup and the U23 Nations League, as part of the preparation for England’s participation in the Commonwealth Games 3×3 event next year and with the aim of boosting GB’s ranking ahead of the 2024 Olympics.
Collins is looking forward to the final test in a busy few months for 3×3, saying: “Russia are a very talented group who did very well at the recent Olympic Games, coming away with a silver medal whilst Ukraine finished first in our Europe Cup Qualifiers in Romania.
“Both teams have their own style and flair so it will be important we focus on a few key areas and develop a gameplan in our pool stages that can play to our strengths. We’re very much looking forward to the Finals and the challenge ahead!”
She praised players – Temi Fagbenle, Chantelle Handy, Shequila Joseph and Shanice Beckford-Norton featured in Constanta – adding: “It was wonderful to see how the players came together so quickly with little preparation and experience at these 3×3 events.
“Credit to the players in coming together and building the chemistry required within the 3×3 format. As we’ve been saying all along, this style of the game is quick and it’s important to develop an understanding of the game and pinpoint areas that can be strengths for the squad of four in order to perform and be effective.
“I feel as though they managed to establish this and as the (qualifying) tournament went on, they started to become more and more comfortable. There are still plenty of takeaways and areas for improvement and we look forward to the next challenge of now stepping into the Europe Cup Finals where we will face the best in Europe.”
The short-sided version of the game has exploded in the last few months with the 2021 Ball Out tour taking centre stage at home, while the senior and U23 national teams criss-crossed Europe.
For Collins – leader of both the England and GB women’s 3×3 teams – it has been a rewarding period.
“It has been a very exciting summer!” she said. “To see all of the 3×3 events that have happened across the UK and to hear about all the British basketball community who tuned in to watch our Women and Men in Romania along with our U23s in France and Israel.
“Special recognition needs to go out to Julius Joseph with all of the successful Ball-Out tournaments this summer along with all the coordination between BBF and BE to make this summer’s activity happen, plus the support from coaches Krumesh Patel and Kenrick Liburd.
“Basketball Wales have also embraced 3×3 and run some fantastic events and Martin Dyan and his constant involvement with his GG 3×3 tournament and passion for the 3×3 game to continue to push its profile here in the UK has been amazing.
“It’s been a brilliant summer and one I know that many players have enjoyed and embraced.”
Collins, a veteran of 5v5 basketball and an established coach in the WBBL with Cardiff Met Archers, has enjoyed her foray into 3×3.
“My approach is very much to share this journey alongside the players,” she added. “We have to come with the mindset that we will learn, adapt, and grow each day whether that is a training camp or in competition.
“The more we play the more we will continue to build and to enjoy the process – 3×3 is fun, fast and fierce and it’s great to be able to expose the players to this in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games next summer in Birmingham.”