The La Trobe University Women’s Basketball team is the toast of Australian university basketball after claiming their second national title in as many years.
The Eagles saved their most impressive performance of the 2023 University Basketball League (UBL) season for when it mattered most, defeating the University of Sydney in a dominant Grand Final display.
Coming up against a previously undefeated outfit playing in front of their home crowd at the University of Sydney, the odds were stacked against La Trobe in their hunt for back-to-back UBL titles. But in an outstanding display, the Eagles stunned the Lionesses on the UBL’s biggest stage to run out 78-55 winners.
It is the second year in a row that La Trobe has overcome University of Sydney in the UBL competition decider, after defeating the Lionesses in the 2022 Grand Final at the La Trobe Sports Park Stadium.
Underlining La Trobe’s dominance of the Women’s UBL in the first two (fully competed) years of the competition is the fact the Eagles have won 22 of their 24 matches in that time under the tutelage of head coach, Cameron Burt.
The 2023 UBL title win will once again see the La Trobe University Women’s team head to Taiwan to play in a series of international exhibition games against Chinese Taipei universities, following their inaugural Taiwan tour as Australian champions in 2022.
First quarter sets the tone
Well aware of the challenge that awaited them in the Grand Final, La Trobe knew it was imperative to make a good start. After quickly silencing the home Sydney crowd with a solid first quarter to lead by seven at the first break, the Eagles put the foot to the accelerator in the second quarter.
With a combination of outstanding long-range shooting and swarming pressure whenever Sydney Uni had possession, La Trobe outscored the Lionesses 26-12 in the second term to take a near insurmountable 21-point lead to the main break.
The Eagles resumed the second half much like the first as they extended their lead to 25 by three-quarter time, and despite University of Sydney finishing strongly in the last, the damage had been done.
In such a dominant display, La Trobe clearly had a number of players who led the way, but a quick look at the stats sheet indicates there were championship-winning contributions from all nine players who took the court.
Coming off the bench, Steph Georgantas (Bachelor of Nursing – Ringwood Hawks) was arguably the difference in the game with an incredible shooting display. Georgantas lit up the championship decider with 25 points to be the top scorer for the match, which included seven 3-pointers.
Georgantas’ Ringwood teammate and La Trobe Elite Athlete Program (LEAP) member Piper Dunlop (Bachelor of Exercise Science) again rose to the challenge when the Eagles needed her most, backing up last year’s best-on-court Grand Final performance with 18 points (shooting at 80 per cent) and 17 rebounds this time around.
Caitlin Richardson (Bachelor of Physiotherapy – Bendigo Braves) and captain Meg Stagoll (Bachelor of Applied Science and Masters of Occupational Therapy – Eltham Wildcats) were also instrumental, with 15 and 14 points respectively.
To relive the Women’s UBL Grand Final triumph, visit the UniSport TV website for replays and match highlights.