In the last 15 months, women’s basketball at the University of Manchester has transitioned from being comfortable residences at the bottom of the league in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) to becoming a dominant force and the team to beat this season.
The profile of women’s basketball is now on a rise, with players from all over the world participating in the sport. The University of Manchester now has two women’s teams, with the first team competing in BUCS and the second team (also known as the development team) playing in the University campus league. This enables both experienced and less experienced players to participate in the sport, with fluidity between the teams to allow progression.
Training sessions averaged only seven players in 2014/15, but now they are now averaging up to sixteen — things are looking bright.
Since the beginning of the 2015/16 season, Women’s Basketball appointed a new coach Michael Case, who has brought a new philosophy to the team. The concept of F.H.M (Family, Heart and Mentality) has the team playing smart hard and honest with ability to exceed their best. The team are very much a family on and off the Court
Last Season was the start of the new beginning; from only winning two out of ten games in 2014/15, the team only lost two out of ten games in the league last season; having the best defence and offence in the league and taking home the Christie Cup. Not to mention participating in a tournament in Rome.
As Coach, I am extremely happy with how the players adapted to the philosophy. We didn’t win the league but we definitely ensured that we are now acknowledged as a formidable team, this season is far from a bad season for the team. I came here to make a difference, next season this team will be stronger; we will win the league.
With recruitment being a success, although women’s basketball lost some great players due to graduation, the Manchester basketball programme has gained some exceptional talent this year to build with the existing players from year before.
The team have shot off to an undefeated start with a 3-0 win to Liverpool, beating newly promoted Keele and taking on Lancaster last week who came down from Division One.
University of Manchester Women’s Basketball Club (UMWBC), who are currently sitting top of the table, had to show real character in their last game against Lancaster University, managing to overturn a 17-point Deficit to win the game 64-57.
The women’s team went into the game without some of their first team regulars, however where a player misses out is another players’ opportunity to step up and bring their talent to the table.
The “Purple Warriors ” started incredibly slowly in this game. With the first quarter going to Lancaster 16-20, Manchester found themselves in unfamiliar territory. Having only been down in a game twice last year, the UMWBC have very little experience in this situation, so the struggle continued and by half time they found themselves losing 26-40.
At half-time, after a slight change of tactics, I asked the players if they were willing to fight to turn around the game, and with Manchester being known for their strong third quarters, the fight was certainly on. Giving up the first points in the third quarter, the team went down by 17.
But they did not give up the fight, with exceptional defence and hustle; the third quarter restricted Lancaster to nine points, with Manchester scoring 17. The game was back on for the last quarter; at 43-49 Manchester were now only 6 points behind. The pride of purple proved too much for Lancaster in the final quarter, with Manchester scoring 21 point and reducing Lancaster to only eight. This concluded the game with Manchester winning 64-57.
The heart, determination and team work demonstrated by the team last week represents our philosophy.
Next game is the battle of Manchester Universities (UoM Vs Man Met) on the 16th November! The day after University of Manchester head Rome to Compete for the second year in EuroRoma.