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Basketball League play-off finals: London Lions eye clean sweep

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“We’ve let that [lack of funding] turn into excitement,” Beckford-Norton told BBC Sport.

“We’re really taking that time to enjoy one another, every moment on and off the court.

“I think we’ve spent more time together recently as well. It’s about enjoying this moment and putting ourselves in a position to celebrate at the end of the day, to say that everyone gave their all.”

They face a Newcastle team who upset the odds by defeating Sheffield Hatters and Caledonia Gladiators, who finished third and second in the league behind the Lions, in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Beckford-Norton, who won a Commonwealth Games silver medal with England at Birmingham 2022, is confident she will be lifting the play-off trophy at the end.

“It’s going to be a very physical game, that’s what we’re preparing for,” she said.

“Being undefeated, already getting to three finals this season and this one being the fourth, we know what we have and that if everyone raises their game we’ll be successful no matter what is on the other side. I don’t think anyone can match us.”

Beckford-Norton and England men’s player Orlan Jackman attended 10 Downing Street to meet Akshata Murty, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife, and put forward their case for increased funding and exposure for the sport in the UK.

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