Slam dunk season for women’s basketball

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Credit: UoS Women’s Basketball/Daniel Walpole

New competition, new members, and a new league? No problem. The women’s basketball 1st team ploughed through their opponents in the 2018/19 season, finishing first in Scotland’s 1A Division.

The year started off strong with an influx of new members, as Emma Diamond, captain of the women’s 1st team, said: “A few international students brought a lot of talent, and some of our freshers are starting five now.”

Diamond isn’t sure exactly what attracted the new students but hypothesises their undefeated season the year before had something to do with it.

The A1 Division features many national league players who also have key roles in regional clubs, and the overall talent is just on another level. Transitioning to a new league can often be difficult for teams, especially a step up, but Stirling was unfazed.

Despite the additional challenge, Stirling claimed eight of ten possible wins. The women’s 1st team finished in first place, two wins above Glasgow University, who came second.

The matches were tougher though, with scores being a lot closer than before. A friendly rivalry is also forming between Stirling and Strathclyde, with recent matchups proving especially intense.

With the league title in hand, Stirling moved to the national playoffs with an opportunity to advance into the top BUCS league. The dream was unfortunately cut short, as Stirling faced Manchester Metropolitan University in the first round.

Manchester has three players in the Women’s British Basketball League, the best in the country, and performed exceptionally. The final buzzer rang with 98-63 on the scoreboard, and Stirling’s season was over.

It was a great experience though, and the team was happy with the performance. Diamond says: “It was such a clean game. We were happy to keep them under 100 points, and our aim was not to be beaten by double, so 63 points was a good achievement.”

The women’s 2nd team have also had a successful year as they continue their development. Just in their second season, the team’s focus isn’t on winning games but growing as individuals and a unit.

Tessa Raiskio, 2nd team captain, said: “It’s amazing to see the team’s development and how comfortable they are on the court nowadays. I am so happy to be part of a team where everyone comes to every training session and game excited, ready to give their best.”

Strong effort breeds strong results, and Raiskio and the rest of the team are excited to continue their progression next year.

This aspect of the club could be taken even further as they’re hoping to receive tier two funding, which would create more opportunities for player growth.

Stirling university’s two basketball clubs have also merged into one, creating one unified force for the sport. Integrating the women and men will be a big focus, explains Diamond, “and it’s already looking really good.”

There’s a buzz around Stirling University basketball, and the next year should bring even more success to both women’s teams.

We’re bringing you season summary pieces for sports teams all across the university, so check back at 2PM every day for another edition of Bleed Green Round-Up.

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