Perfect start to season for basketball Blues

Blues women’s basketball player-coach Sue Altman praised her side’s ‘great team effort’ as they went top of the BUCS Premier South division, comfortably beating Brighton University 54-32 at Iffley Road.

Altman ensured Oxford got off to the best possible start, scoring a six-point run within three minutes of tip-off. After ending the first quarter with a 24-8 lead, victory was never in doubt, and Oxford now stand at the league table’s summit after three wins from three.

The second quarter was less dominant for the Blues, but their lead was extended to 38-16 at the mid-way point against a Brighton side yet to register a win this season. Point guard Altman’s twists and feints were a class above the opposition, including a mesmerising solo effort to take the score to 46-19 halfway through the third quarter.

The teams traded baskets in the fourth as Altman looked to rotate her 10-woman roster, and replaced more experienced players like centre Jenny Bandi with younger members of the squad. The likes of  Alison Inglis, Abigail Edmonds, and the impressive Remi Graves, who all featured more prominently towards the end of the match, have integrated into the team smoothly, helping the Blues’ transition after losing four senior players over the summer.

‘The young players are so easy to coach and to play with’, commented Altman. ‘Their level of energy and enthusiasm has been great’. While Altman, with 26 points, and captain Bandi, with 18, led the way on the score-chart, the Blues were largely in control even when both were off the court, and Altman believes the squad can only get better. ‘The British girls haven’t had as many hours on court as some of us’, added Altman, who previously played at Columbia University in New York, and praised Oxford’s Sports Federation for widening opportunities for women’s basketball.

On this evidence, the Blues can look forward to a very successful season. They host Cardiff Metropolitan University in their next game, and will be confident of victory against another side with a 100% record.

Tip-off was delayed by fifteen minutes to accommodate a thrilling finale to the Blues men’s volleyball team’s clash with Coventry University. The Blues lost the fifth and final set 15-11 to slip to a narrow defeat.

Later, the men’s basketball Blues also won, defeating Middlesex University 78-61. Like their female counterparts, the men’s side is also top of the league.

 

PHOTO/ TIMOTHY WEIL