Ahead of another busy week for the Great Britain National Teams – this time for Chema Buceta’s Women’s side who have two big EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers to look forward to – Team Captain Chantelle Handy says there is a lot to be excited about in the future of the Women’s team as they get ready for fixtures against Portugal and Greece next week.
Handy leads an exciting group into battle next week as a number of national team veterans are joined by a super talented cohort of rising British stars, and we sat down with the Caledonia Gladiators forward to discuss the opportunities that lay ahead.
“We’re building this team and that is really exciting to see the senior players coming together with all of these new young players that are coming through who are having so much success with their clubs and bringing that into the National Team.
“We have two big games against Portugal and Greece away and it is going to be very tough for us against a Portuguese team that has improved a lot over the years and Greece that have always been a big powerhouse in basketball
“There’s a lot we can take from the last window. Yes, we were disappointed with the results, but bringing those new players in was very valuable for us in continuing the GB way and passing that on to the next generation coming through. We’re moving forward as a team and these young players can have a big impact in the future, including in this window.”
“Our culture has always been our biggest strength.”
With new faces like Erin Jones and Kirsty Brown named in the roster for camp ahead of the qualifiers for the first time and the likes of Kennedy Leonard returning to the fold, even more energy has been injected into Chema Buceta’s camp.
Handy discusses how important it is to support that transition of new players coming in to replace recently retired legends such as Jo Leedham-Warner and Rachel Vanderwal, but also to ensure the current veterans help the stars of the future to embrace and evolve the team’s culture.
“We need to build a core group for the future and we know we’re in a bit of a rebuilding period with some key players having retired recently. Speaking of myself, I know my time is running out in terms of playing, but we’ve got a great opportunity to build a really good group that can take this forward.
“Our culture has always been our biggest strength and the young players are buying into that which is brilliant to see. They have the right mentality, they’re competing at a great level and this window is a perfect opportunity for those young players to take that culture forward in two big games for the team.”
“It has been brilliant to come home and I’m absolutely loving it.”
After a glittering career overseas, Handy recently returned home to the UK to sign for the Caledonia Gladiators in the WBBL where she has shone on the court, but also taken steps towards a career after playing in adopting duties as an Player-Assistant Coach on the team’s staff.
“There was a bit of an adapting period, for sure, but it has been brilliant to come home and I’m absolutely loving it.” Handy said.
“Getting to see so many homegrown British players doing so well every week in the WBBL, both for our team and for others across the league, is really exciting and inspiring.
“Renee (Busch) has started the season really well, Holly (Winterburn) is playing unbelievably well, and there are just so many exciting British players in the league and I’ve loved being here to see them do what they do, and I’ve also loved having the opportunity to coach at the WBBL as well.”
You can watch the Great Britain’s Women’s National Team take on Portugal on Thursday (8:30pm) and Greece on Sunday (4pm) live and for free on FIBA’s YouTube channel.