Sport Temi Fagbenle 'raring to go' after becoming first British player to win WNBA

19:00  11 october  2017
19:00  11 october  2017 Source:   Press Association

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Temi Fagbenle became the first former Harvard women's basketball player to win a WNBA title. The Lynx had earned the top overall seed and a bye through the first two rounds of the WNBA Playoffs with their impressive 27-7 record.

Temi Fagbenle has become the first Brit to win a WNBA Championship. The Great Britain centre was an unused reserve but saw her Minnesota Lynx beat 2016 victors, the Los Angeles Sparks, 85-76 on Wednesday to win the Finals series 3-2.

Temi Fagbenle represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics: London Olympic Games - Day 1 © PA ARCHIVE IMAGES London Olympic Games - Day 1

Temi Fagbenle believes she has a fresh perspective on basketball after becoming the first British player to win the WNBA championship.

The 25-year-old wrote her name into the sport's history books as part of the Minnesota Lynx squad which clinched play-off victory over the Los Angeles Sparks.

Fagbenle was restricted to a peripheral role in the title success and did not feature at all in the 3-2 series win against the Sparks, however, she feels the lack of playing time added to the valuable experience gained during her rookie season in the States.

"The feeling of joy, of gratitude, all these emotions rushed when that final bell rang, it was just amazing to be a part of," she said, recounting the moment the championship was secured last week.

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Temi Fagbenle has become the first Brit to win a WNBA Championship. Dates shift adds new wrinkle. The possibility of chaos – and compensation claims – has arisen after FIBA switched the date of

"Obviously I didn't play but just to have been there on the team and watching and seeing what it takes to get to the kind of level really boosted me and helped me understand what I have to do in the future.

"I'm glad to have faced the challenge of playing a different role on a team. It was a big challenge actually, bigger than I thought it ever would be because I've never been in this position before where I've not played.

"I embraced it and it put a different perspective on the whole game."

Born in Baltimore to Nigerian parents, Fagbenle spent most of her childhood in London.

The 6ft 4in centre represented Great Britain as a teenager at the 2012 Olympics before prioritising an education which saw her graduate from Harvard and the University of Southern California while also playing college basketball.

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She stepped up to the professional game earlier this year, joining an experienced Lynx roster which includes the likes of Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore, and the WNBA Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles.

"Coming here, I had Harvard, I had being British – my accent is still fairly strong – so I am different here," added Fagbenle, who is the second Briton - after Andrea Congreaves - to play in the WNBA.

"I think they really accepted me and just took me as I am. They really embraced me with open arms and that's just a testament to the kind of people they are.

"We have so many superstars on this team but everyone is so down to earth, humble and hardly any egos; everyone wants everyone to do well and succeed and it's such an amazing environment to be in."

Fagbenle's next career move will be a return to Europe.

Having committed to Polish club CCC Polkowice, she is hoping for regular game time in the Euroleague Women, as well as being available for Great Britain's EuroBasket qualifiers against Israel and Greece next month.

"I'm raring to go and I'm just ready to show what I've got," she added.

"I'm going to do what I can to just be the best I can be in whatever capacity that may be."

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