The British women’s basketball team hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics and almost qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics. They did not win a game in the 2012 Summer Olympics but have steadily improved into one of the top European basketball nations in the world. Throughout the WNBA, they had three players represented in the WNBA, including two in the last few years.
The Top Three WNBA Players for British Women’s Basketball
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (2020-Present)
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan was born in the Island Harbour, Anguilla. She was selected sixth overall by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2020 WNBA Draft. In the 2020 WNBA season, she averaged 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. She also had a 42.4 three-point shooting percentage. According to Chaunte’l Powell of Sports Illustrated, pundits questioned the Lynx’s decision to draft Powell high in the draft. However, Lynx management was impressed with Harrigan according to Lynx player Sylvia Fowles:
“You definitely want somebody alongside of you playing at the four who can do as much as they can to try to make your job easier [but] that’s not why we were looking at her,” she said. “I think just her aggressiveness and what she brings to the table I think was our main goal of her being picked at six.”
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan considered Sylvia Fowles a mentor growing up. Now they'll be teammates with the Lynx after Minnesota took the Flanagan grad with the No. 6 pick in the WNBA draft. https://t.co/o98EFCJAip pic.twitter.com/dAWcZvmNoT
— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) April 17, 2020
While Harrigan will need to play more seasons to contend with the top two WNBA players, she will get the chance to move up the ladder in British women’s basketball.
Temi Fagbenle (2017-19, 2021-Present)
Temi Fagbenle is a British-Nigerian, who was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but grew up in England according to the WNBA. She was selected 35th in the 2016 WNBA Draft by the Lynx. In the 2017 WNBA season, she averaged 1.2 points and 1.0 rebounds per game.
Fagbenle won the 2017 WNBA championship with Minnesota. She would improve on these stats in 2018 and have a career-year in 2019. In that year, she averaged 5.4 points and 2.9 rebounds. She also had a 51.9 field goal percentage in 2019. This is what Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said of Fagbenle according to Huw Hopkins of Sky Sports.
“We’re excited about Temi, I think she’s someone that can help our team, and she’s maturing, she’s so coachable – anything you tell her she does.”
The former WNBA champion did not participate in the 2020 WNBA season according to Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune. However, her qualifying offer has been extended on January 3rd according to the WNBA.
Andrea Congreaves (1997-99)
Andrea Congreaves was born in Epsom, Surrey, England. She was drafted 26th overall in the WNBA draft by the Charlotte Sting. Her best season was her rookie season. In that season, she averaged 6.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. She also had a 40.9 three-point percentage in 1997. These were all career-highs. However, Congreaves did tie her career-high in assists in 1998. She also had similar points per game in 1999 compared to 1997 as she averaging 6.5 points per game for the Orlando Miracle.
Congreaves right now is the best-ever basketball WNBA player to come from the United Kingdom. This is what she said she learned while playing basketball according to BBC Wales.
“I learnt how to be strong, self-disciplined, and to work hard. I’ve learnt that it doesn’t matter if you fall, you’ve got to pick yourself up and keep going. With the injuries I’ve sustained, if I hadn’t been a strong person, I would have quit years ago. It’s helped me achieve the goals I wanted to achieve.”
Overview of the best British women’s basketball players in the WNBA
This may seem to be a small list of WNBA players to come from Great Britain. However, it is important to note that Fagbenle and Harrigan just came into the WNBA in the last few years. They are currently ranked 18th in the world, which is 11th in Europe. They finished 4th in the EuroBasket Women 2019 tournament. This is the best performance for the British women’s basketball team in its history in the European championships.
GB Women continue to make history with @EuroBasketWomen quarter-final win.
Report ➡️ https://t.co/fWTNi9cbFI pic.twitter.com/hN4WEIxLHX
— GB Basketball (@gbbasketball) July 4, 2019
British women’s basketball is on the rise and may one day again participate in the Olympics. They are right now on the right trajectory and might eventually qualify for the Summer Olympics in the future.
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