‘Our focus is on us’ – Holly Winterburn ahead of EuroBasket clashes in Manchester
She’s shown maturity and composure beyond her years on the court as she’s risen through the ranks of British and European basketball over the last few years.
And now 22-year-old Holly Winterburn is joining her GB teammates in locking into the task of toppling Estonia and Portugal this week to seal a place at EuroBasket 2023.
The London Lions floor general is in line to earn just her third and fourth senior caps in Manchester against Estonia (Thursday 9 February, 7:30pm) and Portugal (Sunday 12 February, 4pm) and sat down with us to discuss the team’s approach to the games as well as her own.
“Whatever Estonia and Portugal throw at us, we’ve got to handle it and get two wins by as many points as possible, and we’re capable of doing that,” Winterburn said.
“Our focus this week is on us, we’ve just got to do the little things right and the result will take care of itself.
“There will be pressure, of course, but we have to be able to handle that pressure and make big plays or decisions in those moments to help the team when there is a lot riding on it. I’ve had that pressure for so long now at club level that I expect it and know how to deal with it.
“My only focus whenever I’m on the court is to do everything I can to be the best version of myself for the team and help try and get the wins. I don’t feel like pressure gets to me. I just use it to fuel me and help me help the team as best I can.”
Winterburn’s development in recent years has doubtless been helped significantly by the time she has spent learning from some of the greats of the British game on a daily basis – most notably Azania Stewart and Jo Leedham-Warner, who the young guard played with for the London Lions.
She also credits Chantelle Handy and Eilidh Simpson for their support in her growth as a player, and discussed why she feels like she is ‘living the dream’ at the moment.
“Being part of the senior team is something I’ve wanted for a long time,” she added. “I’m just trying to be the best I can for the team in every moment and I’m excited to have the opportunity to compete in home games this week with family and friends there to support us.
“I want to enjoy every moment. Over the last few years my goal has been to play at the highest level possible. I’m living my dream as a professional basketball player right now, and getting to represent GB is a big part of that.
“As soon as you put that GB jersey on you know exactly what it means to represent your country and play the GB way and all of that, so it is a huge honour and something I take a lot of pride in.”
GET YOUR TICKETS
Get your tickets to support Great Britain in EuroBasket 2023 Qualifying action in Manchester as they take on Estonia and Portugal in two decisive fixtures by clicking here. The team needs your support and we can’t wait to see you in the stands supporting the team this week!