Campus Life

Lady bucks have all the luck

Lady Bucks

 

A growing  basketball season culminated in the Wits Lady Bucks Basketball team taking gold.

The women’s team, Wits Lady Bucks, is now regarded as “the best university team in the country for the 2014 season”, according to team captain, Modiegi Mokoka, 3rd year BSc Construction Studies.  The team won the University Sports South Africa (USSA) basketball national championships in July.

This year the team adopted a “win at all costs” system as opposed to the “everyone must play” approach of previous years, said Mokoka.   Their successful performance this year was attributed to their team work.

“We listened, we had confidence, we executed, but most of all, we played for each other. We went from 4th place to number one in the country. There’s no better progress than that,” She said.

After years of competing in the USSA championships, this was the first year the team took the top title, having progressed from sixth place in 2011 to first in 2014.  This year things were different.

“We had faith.  We wanted to win it.  We really were determined this time,” said Patience Gumbo, BHSc Honours in Forensic Science and vice-chairperson of the club.

“We have gone through so much and pushed through so much that we deserved and owed it to ourselves to give it all,” Gumbo added.

The core team has been competing together since 2010, said Gumbo.  “Bit by bit, we kind of became who we are now, but we are still growing … we have been improving over the years and winning USSA national championships showed that.”

The win has inspired and motivated the team to keep working harder, according to Gumbo. “The other teams won’t be easier on us and they are just going to keep pushing harder,” she said.

The Lady Bucks outshined the men’s team which came third in their division.

The toughest teams in the competition were Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) which reached the finals in 2012 and 2013, and Vaal University of Technology (VUT), which previously were national champions for six years in a row, according to Coach William Matlakala, who has been coaching the girls since 2010.

“The biggest pusher was that we were tired of defeat. Losing to VUT constantly by two points since the 2012 season pushed us to our limit,” said Mokoka.

VUT’s team consists of national and international players and the entire team is on full sports bursaries (tuition and accommodation) according to Mokoka.  This makes it easier for the team to be “basketball orientated” compared to Witsies who play for the “love of it”, she said.

“VUT and CPUT have scholarships for their players and athletes … We can’t do the same so that has been the main challenge,” confirmed Matlakala.

The team has continued competing in the Gauteng Women’s Basketball League and the Gauteng University Basketball League (GBUL), of which they are tied with the Vaal University of Technology for first place.

Mokoka said the team’s dynamics are “play as a team to win as a team” but individuals have opportunities to improve on their own goals.  Their plans are to continue their success until the end of 2014 and to develop new players for the new season in 2015.

Coach Matlakala said defending the championship will be much harder.  Fortunately the team will not have to worry about good players leaving soon after they graduate.  There are hopes to recruit new and advanced talent in the meantime.  GUBL games will take place this Sunday, from 9am to 5.45pm at Hall 29.

By Lameez Omarjee