Two universities will lift the trophy for the 2023 University Basketball League Australia (UBL) title this Wednesday following nine weeks of regular match ups and two weeks of elimination finals that saw upsets and fierce rivalries continue as the third thrilling season of the UBL comes to a close.
The University of Sydney (USYD) women will welcome 2022 women’s champions La Trobe University (LTU) to the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre at 3pm on Wednesday 31 May, with a 2022 grand final repeat set to fire up both women's teams.
The University of Sydney and La Trobe University
The roles are reversed this year, with USYD the undefeated side throughout their 2023 campaign and LTU hoping to avenge their 3 point loss in week two to the USYD outfit and win their second UBL championship.
USYD have gone from strength to strength this season, led by head coach Renae Garlepp, with notable accolades as a former WNBL player and current NBL1 coach of the North Sydney Bears. Meg Jefferson (Master of Sustainability) had an outstanding year on the court for the undefeated side, averaging 17.2 points, 7 rebounds and a 77% free throw rate.
Captain of the USYD women Sarah Wacher (Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering (Hon) and Bachelor of Science) is excited to be playing a grand final at her home court this year: "We want the gold medal! And that’s going to require us locking in on defence and sharing the ball on offence. Personally I just want to leave it all on the court, it’s the last game of the season so bring it on La Trobe!"
The LTU squad overcame tough opposition in their road to the grand final after finishing second on the ladder, marginally beating a strong University of Western Australia (UWA Maali) team 58-56 and then overpowering the impressive University of Melbourne (MELB) women in their semi-final clash 74-52.
Caitlin Richardson (Bachelor of Physiotherapy) will be a key player to watch for the travelling team, with her accuracy and consistency landing points, averaging 16.45 throughout the season.
“Making it to the grand final this season stands as a testament to the team's hard work and determination. I have no doubt that the girls (and coaches) will bring intensity and effort to the game on Wednesday and hope that amidst the pressure we will remember to enjoy it as a group. As captain, I simply hope to lead by example and contribute to the team's performance in any way possible as we try to take home the 2023 UBL title.” said LTU captain Meg Stagoll (Bachelor of Applied Science, Master of Occupational Therapy).
University of Technology Sydney and The University of Melbourne
The men's game will feature two different universities to the women's match up, with the MELB men reaching the grand final for the first time and travelling north to face the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) for the first time this season.
The home team UTS led from week one and didn't drop a game, finishing top of the ladder in good contention to win the 2023 trophy. Alex Higgins-Titsha (Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Management) was a strength for the UTS team each game, averaging over 16 points, 10 rebounds and a 71% free throw percentage and will be one player to watch in the grand final.
UTS Health student Tom Buvac will captain the team in his first grand final in the UBL. “In terms of my team's performance we want to win, and in terms of myself I just want to do whatever I can to make that happen” Buvac said.
MELB men had a stellar season in 2023, with #12 Joel Rimes (Doctor of Philosophy) returning to the squad as captain, averaging over 20 points per game and leading the team to an 8-1 record in the regular season and 2nd on the ladder.
"We are excited to make the grand final, especially as our team is going from strength to strength. We missed out on finals last year so we have focused hard in the off season to improve our squad and training schedule, and we are now seeing the fruits of our work. Our semi-final was played in front of a packed Melbourne crowd, which made the atmosphere great. Looking forward to seeing the same in the grand final."
Another player to watch will be #14 Dihan Wigget (Bachelor of Commerce), who racked up 34 points against USYD in the semi-final and will look to continue his outstanding form in the grand final.
UTS will host MELB at Ross Milbourne Sports Hall on Wednesday 31 May at 6pm in what will be a colossal contest for both sides who are aiming to lift the trophy for their first time in UBL history.
Watch both games live and free on UniSportTV
The University Basketball League Australia (UBL) is a national university basketball competition first established in 2021. Thirteen universities from six states across Australia participate in the competition in both men’s and women’s divisions. The twelve-week competition will see more than 130 games played in a home and away format on university campuses. All games are live streamed free and on demand through UniSportTV.
For more information on the UBL click here
UniSport Australia (UniSport) is the peak body for university sport in Australia. 43 universities are members of UniSport, representing a population of over one million students. UniSport’s ambition is to become an integral partner to Australian universities and to deliver an outstanding student experience at our national intervarsity competitions.
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