Rising-star Milligan relishes England ‘freedom’

Lauren Milligan playing against Sevenoaks
Lauren Milligan playing against Sevenoaks
Theo Widdrington scored a penalty in Pompey reserves' loss to Everton at Westleigh Park in October. Picture: Colin Farmery

Kelly: Pompey kids won’t sit back at Everton

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Lauren Milligan is making great strides in her bid to reach the top.

The 18-year-old has recently received a Basketball scholarship in Philadelphia, USA.

She’s also been progressing her international career, after proving herself as one of England’s key performers in the under-18 world championships in Croatia.

It was a big learning curve for the team, who previously won promotion to division A.

They faced Spain, Russia and hosts Croatia in their group and, although results did not go England’s way, Milligan, who previously attended Bay House School, in Gosport, relished the experience.

‘The under-18 championship was fun because it was playing against the best players in Europe,’ she said.

‘Last year we got promoted to division A which meant we would be playing the best.

‘Although as a team we struggled to earn a good spot in the table, we still learned a lot.

‘We were able to see what we have to do as a country to make girls’ basketball bigger.

‘This year I started every game and had more freedom.

‘It was good because it showed me that all my hard worked paid off.’

Milligan has seen her dedication to the sport bear fruit with a scholarship to Chestnut Hill College.

She hopes to carve out a career in basketball.

‘My long-term ambition is to play somewhere in Europe,’ said Milligan.

‘I’d love to play as a career and inspire younger generations.

‘I started playing basketball when I was six.

‘After giving netball a try, I found the energy of basketball a lot more fun.

‘Playing at college in America is where you can get experience.

‘It’s a common thing for girls in England at the highest standard who want to reach the next level.

‘I had to put my video on YouTube and wait for coaches to take an interest in me.

‘I had a few offers but chose Chestnut Hill.’