2023 FIBA Women's EuroBasket Qualifiers: Sheffield Hatters duo link up with Great Britain

The UK’s first and most successful women’s basketball club has gained international recognition after its star player was selected to represent Great Britain.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 1:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 1:50 pm
Vanessa Ellis (left) and Georgia Gayle are involved in the Great Britain set-up for the upcoming 2023 FIBA Women's EuroBasket qualifiers.

Georgia Gayle, who came through the development programme at Sheffield Hatters, has been called up to represent her country in this week’s FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023 qualifiers against Greece and Estonia.

The 24-year-old has returned to her native South Yorkshire following a year playing in Valencia, Spain and will join her aunt and Hatters head coach Vanessa Ellis in the GB set-up.

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Vanessa – the daughter of Hatters founder Betty Codona – is also the assistant coach of Great Britain’s national side.

Georgia has previously represented Team GB at junior, Under-20 and senior level and said: “It’s definitely different to what I’m used to. At Hatters I’m in my comfort zone but here we have people like Karlie Samuelson who plays in the WNBA.

"It’s a good learning curve and experience. It’s definitely pushing me and challenging me every day.”

No fewer than 38 nations are competing for 14 places in the next edition of Europe's flagship biennial competition, which will be held in Israel and Slovenia.

The qualifiers will take place across three windows in November 2021, November 2022 and February 2023.

Great Britain are the highest-seeded team in their qualification group and have been drawn alongside Greece, Estonia and Portugal.

They begin their qualifying campaign against the Greeks in Manchester on Thursday before travelling to Tallinn to take on Estonia on Sunday.

"I have travelled the world because of basketball,” Georgia, who played the sport in America on a college scholarship for three years, added.

"Playing on junior national teams, I have travelled to three or four countries a year and I have a lot of friends all over the world.”

Sheffield Hatters return to action following the international break on November 20 when they take on the much-fancied London Lions in the semi-final of the WBBL Cup, with both teams yet to lose this season.

Georgia said: “That’s huge so we really need to get our act together when me and Vanessa arrive back from camp.

"Everybody expects them to win so we want to come out and shock them.”

Both of Great Britain’s qualification matches will be shown live on the FIBA YouTube channel.