Day of two halves for England's 3x3 basketball stars
It was a day of two halves for England’s women 3x3 basketballers, as they bounced back from defeat to New Zealand to beat the British Virgin Islands and set up a mouthwatering winner-takes-all clash with Canada on Sunday.
England were narrowly edged out 15-14 by the Kiwis before coming back to win their next game 22-5, with Hannah Jump scoring a huge 14 points for her side,
It now means that they must beat Canada at Smithfield on Sunday, with both sides locked on three points with two games played.
And Consett baller Chantelle Handy, 35, hailed the performance of teammate jump, and the way her side responded from their opening defeat.
"We had to shoot a lot of free shots and Hannah Jump came out and did that,” said Handy. “She had a phenomenal game.
"We made mistakes against New Zealand, [which] we talked about, and we’ve shown people we can come back and turn things around quickly.
"I’m very happy with that, we knew it would be tough and physical. Our goal was to get to 21 because we know that points are very important in tournament play.”
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The quartet, also comprising Cheridene Green and Shanice Beckford-Norton, played out both their matches in front of an electric atmosphere at Smithfield, formerly home to Birmingham’s markets.
And as both sides traded blows, Handy believes the support of the home crowd gave them an edge.
"The atmosphere is awesome and it’s a big advantage to have that crowd behind us,” added Handy, who plays for the Caledonia Gladiators in the Women’s British Basketball League.
“I’m in my second season of 3x3 and it’s very different to 5v5 - it’s fast and the fans love it.
“It’s a great way to get people to come and watch basketball in the UK."
3x3 basketball is a new addition to the Commonwealth Games’ plethora of sports for 2022, and Handy admits she is still getting used to the alternative format.
"It’s only 10 minutes, but it’s very intense and demanding and the refs allow a lot more physical contact than they do in 5v5,” she said.
“You have get used to being hit. Usually my game is about finesse, but this is a chance for me to get physical.”
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