Reading week’s absence of basketball allows a glance back and forward at the current season. Starting with Stirling’s best ranked team, the Women’s 1st return to the court on Wednesday in their first game of the semester.
Three games remain for the Women’s 1st team who are looking to hold onto their first-place position in Scotland’s 1A Division.
If successful, Stirling will enter the playoffs to compete for a spot in Premier North: the highest university league in the country.
The upcoming game against Strathclyde’s 1st team will be Stirling’s first in almost three months, a length of time comparable to starting a whole new season. Despite this gap, 1st team player Jessica Robertson isn’t worried about returning to the court.
She explains that the team is very close and so won’t struggle with gelling again in the upcoming games. Though there will be some difficulties – Strathclyde are a strong team – Robertson believes Stirling will still come out on top.
But how tough are we talking? Strathclyde are currently positioned second-place with a 60% win-rate below Stirling’s 75%. The game is also taking place at Strathclyde, adding to the difficulty for Stirling as the team remains undefeated at home.
Securing wins wasn’t the team’s only goal this semester however, as improving team chemistry and developing as a unit is just as important. This has been thoroughly accomplished explains Robertson, saying that “the team and the whole club is just like one big family.”
The Men’s 1st team isn’t performing as well unfortunately, currently sitting in relegation conversation alongside Dundee’s 1st team and Edinburgh’s 3rd.
Craig Stephen, president of men’s basketball, explains the current goal is just to stay in the division: “We’re all desperately wanting to avoid relegation as we know the team is much better than that.”
Despite their remaining two match-ups being against Herriot-Watt’s and Strathclyde’s 2nd teams – currently second and third respectively – fifth-place Stirling could still secure wins.
UWS have dominated the Scottish 3A Division this season, leaving the rest of the table relatively close; Herriot-Watt have just a 60% win-rate, followed by Strathclyde’s 50%.
The latter will face Stirling on Wednesday, a match-up unseen since Stirling’s season-opener that saw Strathclyde win by nine-points. Stirling have home-court advantage this time however, so the upcoming match is definitely a feasible win.
The Men’s 2nd team are facing an opposite scenario as they aim to defend their top position in Scotland’s 5A Division.
Stirling must keep up their current hot streak if they hope to be promoted, as Dundee’s and Queen Margaret’s 2nd teams are incredibly close on the table.
Adding to the pressure, both the remaining games will be played away from home, starting with Glasgow Caledonian on Wednesday. Stirling met this team in their last match-up, narrowly securing the win in a 55-52 victory.
Playing Caledonian’s 2nd team in Glasgow will be tough for Stirling as being away from home always brings additional challenges. With the previous matchup being so fresh however, Stirling have a strong knowledge of Caledonian’s talent and can build a winning strategy to suit.
Finally, the Women’s 2nd team continue their developmental season as they continue to grow their basketball style and stature.
Both of their remaining match-ups are against new opponents, starting with Abertay’s 1st team on Wednesday.
Abertay have currently lost just a single game, and compared to Stirling’s single win, the odds are stacked against the Women’s 2nd team. As mentioned last week however, the main goal of this Stirling team is to develop individual talents and chemistry as a squad.
All four of Stirling’s basketball teams take to the court next week, so stay tuned to Brig for your weekly catch-up in what’s assured to be an action-packed return!