Basketball, a notoriously American sport, has seen a massive growth in popularity in Britain over the past few years. Every week around 175,000 people between the ages of 14 and 25 play basketball, as many as cricket and golf combined (arguably two of St Andrews’ most popular sports). As such, the University has noticed exceptional growth in its basketball club and are working, year on year, to become a stronger and more competitive club. It is becoming one of the best basketball programmes in the country.
As for current form, the St Andrews women’s first team have managed to work their way up through the BUCS leagues in recent years and are currently competing in the BUCS Premier Division, making for a difficult season. Currently in fifth place, they are not at risk of relegation, three points above last place Aberdeen, who they will face in their next league game making for a nerve-wracking fixture.
The Saints most recent game was against Glasgow University’s first team, who are sitting comfortably in third place. The game was quick to start with Glasgow scoring two points in quick succession, followed almost instantly by a three-pointer from St Andrews. Another shot for St Andrews put the score at 5-2. It was a strong start from the Saints, one that unfortunately could not be maintained for the duration of the game, despite looking like the stronger side for its majority.
Another two shots from Glasgow put them back into the lead, but not for long. After missing both free throws, an excellent play from the Saints saw another two points being scored putting them back in the lead by one. It seemed like it was going to be a tight game, but the Saints started to let the lead slip away from them. Several Glasgow free throws saw them taking a strong lead at 7-13.
As the end of the second quarter approached both teams took the opportunity to try and score more points, with Glasgow looking to increase their lead. Shots from both sides, including several free throws, saw the score at 13-17. Another time out saw both teams returning strong. Glasgow scoring two points and St Andrews matching scoring both free throws. The second quarter finished 15-21, a six-point defecit the Saints would have to work hard to overcome.
The start of the third quarter saw both teams scoring early points, and the score quickly climbed to 21-26. Another high scoring quarter finished with Glasgow 13 points in the lead at 23-36.
The final quarter was tough for the Saints and it was unlikely that they were going to close such a large gap in 10 minutes. However that didn’t stop them from trying. Managing to score another four points and preventing Glasgow from scoring any in the first few minutes of the game took the score to 27-36.
Multiple points scored from both sides saw the score increase quickly as the end of the quarter, and game, approached. The score was at 30-42 with a minute to go and a three-pointer for St Andrews took Glasgow’s lead down to only nine points. But there wasn’t enough time left for the Saints to close the gap and the buzzer sounded, the final score 33-42.
Although the score wasn’t the outcome the girls will have been hoping for, their performance was strong. Nearly all of St Andrews’ shots (excluding free throws) were three-pointers, unlike Glasgow’s, proving that St Andrews’ skill level is high and that they have the ability to match, if not beat, the seemingly stronger teams in the league.
Despite this tough loss, it is imperative the side pick themselves up again as soon as possible. They face a travelling Sheffield Hallam outfit in the cup competition next week that currently lie second in the Northern 1A division in what promises to be a hugely intriguing matchup. Then comes their crucial final games in the league: firstly the aforementioned survival showdown at home against Aberdeen on the 13 February at 8 pm followed by a return fixture in Glasgow that could possibly be the matchup that decides their Scottish 1A status for the following year. As always, the squad would massively appreciate support in any form.