Basketball is regarded as a widely-popular sport across the world, and Sussex University is no exception to this. Resilience, unity and triumph are core skills required , and the Sussex Women’s Basketball Team (SWBB) embodies all three. Boasting an impressive 8-0 win streak this season, along with winning the South Eastern 2A league, the modest team consisting of just 18 total members have proven themselves to be amongst the most accomplished sports teams at Sussex. However when it comes to getting the full picture of the SWBB, it’s important to take a look at not just their victories, but the obstacles they’ve overcome and the tight-knit community they have fostered.  

To gain a better insight into the teams’ journey, and how they operate, I interviewed Ciara Parker, certified basketball coach and team captain. She was keen to highlight the impact basketball has had on her, becoming a “massive part of my life since picking it up in college” and that “being a part of SWBB has literally provided a big family where we all look out for each other, pick each other up and celebrate team and individual wins big or small.” 

When it comes to training and preparing for matches, the team puts their best foot forward. Ciara explains that official training occurs twice a week, but team members are also gym regulars outside of this. Sussexsport, the gym facilities on campus, hold group exercise classes such as circuit training, which the SWBB team members also take part in. To improve their skills, they sometimes film their games and conduct video-analysis with their coach – which allows the team to target their weak points in training, and use their gained knowledge to face their next opponent even stronger than before. 

Image: Women’s Basketball Society, University of Sussex

Despite the teams’ significant success, they aren’t struggle free. As both a team with a small size, and being the female side in a male-dominated sport at Sussex, they face decreased funding compared to opponents. Cost of living, and a lack of university funding means reaching away games can be tiresome, and puts the team at a disadvantage in away games.   Last academic year, building an almost completely new team from scratch (we at The Badger know how difficult that can be), working with a new coach, and moving up a division combined to put a significant amount of pressure on the team, yet they managed to persevere through, with great results. 

SWBB brings team members into an environment with tough competition and even tougher training, but rewards their hard work with victory after victory. The discipline and power they gain on the court doesn’t just end at university, but will be carried throughout their lives and become a core part of their skill set for decades to come. It can be difficult to break through Basketball, but the girls have managed to make a solid name for themselves across the country. Looking to the future, it’s exciting to see where the team will go next. As the BUCS fixtures draw to a close, and varsity beckons, we have high hopes for their performances and wish them all the best. 
If you’re interested in joining the Women’s Basketball team , trials have unfortunately ended this year – but if you would like to  give basketball a try, there is a Women’s Basketball ActiveUS session from 2-3pm every Sunday, where you can pay £2 to play some matches – coached by Ciara herself! Also, make sure to follow their Instagram page @sussexwomensbasketball for updates on the teams’ progress.          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