Loughborough Students Women’s Basketball completed an undefeated BUCS season with a 76-61 win over Cardiff Met to be crowned the 2013 BUCS Champions, the first time in seven years.
After two seasons of heartbreak at the hands of Cardiff Met at the University finals, Loughborough opened the well. Maaja Bratka getting to the basket early in offence and the midlands side asserting themselves on the boards!
Cardiff rallied behind Great Britain Basketball’s Stef Collins and the experienced Sarah Wagstaff to remain within four of Loughborough before Kasey Jennings drained a big three and then headed to the line to tie the game shortly before the half. Loughborough carried a small lead in to the half time break, leading 30-27.
With Collins in foul trouble, the third quarter saw Jennings continue her hot shooting for Cardiff to keep them close. Loughborough’s Maia Bratka knocked down three crucial jump shots to keep the scoring ticking over for Loughborough before Mackenzie Westcott nailed a running buzzer beater to put Loughborough up two going into the final period.
Loughborough’s Women locked in defensively to hold Cardiff to just 4 points in the first seven and a half minutes of the fourth quarter. Loughborough’s defence seemly charged an offensive run including four threes from Eimear Mairtin. This, along with big time plays from Rheanne Bailey and Maaja Bratka, extended the lead past Cardiff’s reach; Loughborough winning 76-61.
Maaja Bratka was named MVP of the BUCS Final with 22 points and eleven rebounds.
Head Coach Matthew Harber commended his players and thanked his staff after the game;
“Despite most people talking about our undefeated season in the BUCS competition and how well our team have done this year, I can’t help but think this Championship is a product of the last 4 years of growth and the investment that has been made to women’s basketball here at Loughborough. There have been a lot of tough times prior to these winning moments, and it’s these challenging experiences that make this victory all that more rewarding and special.”
“Although the players have been outstanding over the last few years and have committed to our philosophy and culture, I must take this opportunity to thank all of our support staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make our programme successful. Thanks to Joe Pinchin, Russell Levenston, Sam Heathcote and Laura Creighton at the Leicester Riders for their day-to-day support in running the programme and managing our student-athletes. Thanks to Rob Jarram at Loughborough College for his perseverance in doing everything he can to provide us resources and facilities and for the academic support he offers our students at Loughborough College. Finally, thank you to Jo Emmett at the SDC and all of the staff at the Athletic Union at Loughborough University who has been supportive to the growth of basketball at Loughborough University and has helped us break boundaries that have not been possible in the past.”