An incredible talent and a dominant force throughout her career so far, Kristine Anigwe is no stranger to GB fans having emerged as a future star for the Women’s National Team in recent years, but the London-born powerhouse is finally making her home debut tomorrow in Manchester and confesses it will be both exciting and emotional for her.
“To be playing here at home in front of my family, it is a dream come true.” Anigwe said.
“To have my mum watching the game and my grandfather, my brother is here as well and I am so excited to be able to play for them.
“Every time I put on the jersey it is for them and it reminds of who I am and where I’ve come from. I’ve sacrificed a lot to get here and it is really important to me that I have this opportunity.
“I saw my grandfather for the first time in five years earlier today, and some other family, and I’m getting to see my brother as well who I’ve not been able to spend a lot of time with – so to have this opportunity to play at home is something I’m really not taking for granted and I’m so thankful for.
“I’m dedicating these games to my family and I’m excited to take to the court with my second family tomorrow. I’m incredibly thankful for my teammates, who have been so supportive of me.”
Although she’s already had an incredible journey in the game from her collegiate career to time in the WNBA and in Europe, Anigwe is still only 25 years old and is one of a number of new talents making their way into the National Team that has fans on the edge of their seats with excitement.
The ninth pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft and returning to the USA in the next few months for training camp with the Connecticut Sun, Anigwe discussed her excitement at being part of the new generation and what she feels this influx of new talent is capable of as they continue to build chemistry together on the floor.
“There’s a core group on this team that has been here for a long time, and with this new generation of players coming through now we’re trying to build on the foundation that was set by them and bring our own personalities and qualities to the group, building a new energy and competitiveness.
“Every single player in practice knows that they’re competing for a spot on a really good team, and that is elevating us even more. We’re a really exciting group and I really hope that we make a lot of noise this week and win these two games.
“With each window I get more confident and show more of my personality with the girls and the coaches. We have a lot of strong leaders on the team already showing us what we have to do to be elite, and it’s up to us as a group to hit that level and show what we’re capable of.”
Making her EuroBasket 2023 Qualifying campaign debut last November with a duo of tough trips on the road in Portugal and Greece, Anigwe excelled with averages of almost 14 points and 10 rebounds over both games in what she felt was an important window for her confidence and growth.
The 25-year-old reflected on the progress made in that window and how excited she is for the team to have another opportunity to grow and show what they can do with two important home games in Manchester this week.
“The second game was tough against Greece because we’d given everything we had in a really tough game a few days before against Portugal, so for us to come out a few days later and give a performance that was at that level and really fell like we could have won the game, I was so proud of us.
“Our team is only growing every time we step on the floor. We’re getting more and more confident, and everybody is learning how to shine as part of this great group we’ve got here, and the future is really exciting.
“We have another window now to bond and grow and we’re only going to get better. Everybody is 100% committed to this team and we’re building momentum. We have an opportunity to show everybody how tough and competitive we are as a team and that we’re not going to let anybody just come in and do what they want against us.”
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