London Lions
Lointek Gernika Bizkaia

London brush past Lointek Gernika Bizkaia to make EuroCup history at the Copper Box Arena.

Temi Fagbenle and Karlie Samuelson shone in the Round of 16 second leg to help the Lions advance to the competition’s last eight – reaching a stage no British team has ever been in before.

As temperatures reached freezing in London, it was the Lions’ duty to turn up the heat in the Copper Box Arena as they looked to build on their narrow first leg victory against Gernika Bizkaia. 

Having left the Basque Country just over a week ago, Stella Kaltsidou’s team had a seven-point lead that aided them in a tie that is ultimately determined on an aggregate score. Heading into the match, this made it a tough ask for the Spanish side, who had to overturn the deficit in East London.

The Lions tipped-off their first European game of the New Year at the Copper Box by laying down the gauntlet early, signalling to the visitors that they meant business. London quickly scored eight unanswered points to start the match, thanks to two three-pointers from Karlie Samuelson in the opening 90 seconds.

The first quarter continued in the same fashion as the Lions’ dominance continued, allowing the home side to score a whopping 28 points in the first quarter and lead the visiting Gernika by 14 points on the night.

The away side knew that if they were to have any chance of making the quarter-finals of this season’s EuroCup, they had to start limiting the Lions’ scoring as quickly as possible

The second quarter showed promising signs for Gernika, who managed to edge themselves back into the game. There were positive signs coming from Rosó Buch and Marie-Michelle Milapie, who combined well to keep Gernika in the tie.

The Lions’ superiority remained strong despite the improvements from the Spanish side as the hosts extended their lead by another two points in the quarter. As a result, London led by an aggregate score of 23 points heading into the break.

Gernika’s momentum from the second quarter continued in the third as the Lions began to rotate their squad. Nevertheless, Gernika, who were spurred on by Buch’s scoring, narrowed the deficit in the third – albeit it by three points.

As the fourth quarter started, the Lions’ aggregate lead stood at 20 points. The game appeared dead and buried as London were expected to slowly see out the tie on their home court. 

But, in true Lions’ fashion, the team continued to push on by accumulating 23 points in the fourth quarter. Katsiaryna Snytsina offloaded a three-pointer to help see out the victory in a convincing win for the reigning Women’s British Basketball League champions.

The score line on the night finished at 87-59 in London’s favour, with an aggregate win of 163-128 across the two legs.

This victory now sees London ease into the EuroCup quarter-finals where they will travel to Turkey to face Melikgazi Kayseri on February 22nd.

Watch the full game here.

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