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London Lions create basketball history with EuroCup victory

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London Lions 81 Besiktas 70 (London win 149-145 on aggregate)

London Lions women’s team etched their names into the history books after becoming the first British basketball team – male or female – to win a European title.

On a memorable night for basketball in this country, the Lions staged a stunning fightback to defeat Besiktas and lift the EuroCup in front of a sell-out crowd at London’s Copper Box arena.

Having lost the first leg 75-68 to the Turkish outfit in Istanbul last week, the reigning Women’s British Basketball League champions needed to win by at least eight points to clinch the title.

In a tense battle that went down to the wire, guard Holly Winterburn landed a crucial three-pointer with 15 seconds remaining of a pulsating contest to cap off a fairytale night in the capital.

“We’ve put the British basket at the top of Europe,” said Stella Kaltsidou, the London Lions head coach. “I just hope the country is going to use this result to benefit the sport here. We will not let this get lost. I hope this inspires more boys and girls to play the sport. I’m sad this dream is now over but we will celebrate tonight, tomorrow and next week.”

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