Team GB's women's basketball team are just a stone's throw away from qualifying for a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but coach Jose ‘Chema’ Buceta is now turning his attention to the values that got his team this far.
Guard Eilidh Simpson elaborates on what pulls the team together :
“To pull off another success, we just need to play the GB way. That’s our strength, we have such great togetherness and we really do believe in each other. We love playing together and fighting for each, it really shows when we play. If we use our passion and belief, we can achieve more success.”
Following their tough draw for the Olympic qualifiers, GB is set to face China, Korea and EuroBasket 2019 winners Spain, with the top three continuing to Tokyo. The Team GB women need to zone in and ensure every element of their team comes together, as it has in recent years, under the direction of coach Buceta.
Simpson continues: “It’s going to be tough to travel to China, but we know we’ll prepare correctly and be ready for that first game against the hosts.
“We have a tough draw but at this stage with the top 16 teams in the world, no draw is easy. We will take it one game at a time and give it our best crack.”
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In an October 2019 Independent article, coach Buceta was credited with the surprising position the GB women have taken up in the international realm of basketball. The Spanish-born coach has helped the women defy expectations thus far as they finished fourth at the 2019 EuroBasket (a 20 team European tournament with a rigorous qualification process) and second at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The leadership of Buceta is also something Simpson credits as the recipe to their success:
“The spirit in our group starts with our head coach Chema, he has really instilled such a positive environment for us to succeed in. The leaders set the example every day and they love coming into camp and playing for GB, it’s really inspiring.”
“Everyone loves playing for GB, and loves playing for each other. We have so much fun together.”
GB head to the Chinese city of Foshan in February to face the hosts, Korea and Spain for the Tokyo qualifier games:
February 6, 11.35am GMT v China
February 8, 7am GMT v Korea
February 9, 7 am GMT v Spain