Women's basketball's Brierley reflects on national team experience

Women's basketball's Brierley reflects on national team experience

SAINT LEO, Fla. – Every athlete grows up wanting to represent their nation. For Saint Leo women's basketball rising sophomore Gina Brierley that dream became a reality this summer.

Brierley, a native of Manchester, England, was selected as one of 12 players to represent Great Britain at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) U20 Women's European Championship (Division B) which took place between July 8-16, 2017 in Eilat, Israel.

"It's always an honor to wear the colors of your country," Brierley said. "You feel so much pride singing your national anthem and being a part of something you've dreamt of doing."

"It's been a goal of mine to make the U20 Great Britain team since I was little, so to say I accomplished that makes me encouraged to achieve my next goals. I think the whole experience was so remarkable because of the people that surrounded me. The coaching staff and my teammates were so nice and made it so much more enjoyable."

Brierley played in six of Great Britain's seven matches, averaging 13 minutes per contest. The 5-foot-7 guard scored her first international points against Romania in the second game of the tournament.

While stats are a big part on the court, it was what happened before stepping on the court that was the most unforgettable for Brierley.

"The most memorable moment for me is when I received my playing kit with my name on the back," Brierley said as she reminisced on receiving her uniform. "It finally set in that all the hard work I had done had paid off and I was in the final 12 that were going to the European Championships to represent Great Britain."

With the tournament in the rear view mirror, Brierley has now turned her focus to preparing for the 2017-18 season at Saint Leo.

"I am really excited to come back to Saint Leo and start the new season. I know that with Coach Crocitto's guidance we will finish in a better position than last season. I'm also encouraged to see how my teammates have developed over the summer, and what the new freshman have to offer."

"Making the Great Britain squad has given me the confidence to believe in my own abilities and hopefully that will be portrayed this year and I will play as I know I can."

Overall, Brierley knows that this experience will stick will her for a lifetime.

"The main thing I took away, from my time with on the Great Britain national team, is that no matter what obstacles are put in your way if you are resilient and committed you can achieve your dreams. Be confident in your abilities and work hard and you will soon reap your rewards."

For more information on the Saint Leo women's basketball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com.  Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.