Updated: Mar 28, 2022
UniSport Australia has sadly made the decision to cancel the 2021 UBL finals which had been rescheduled to be held at The University of Sydney on 19 and 20 October.
The decision to cancel the finals has been made in consideration of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns currently impacting all 6 teams who had qualified for finals.
UniSport CEO Mark Sinderberry said “The inaugural UBL has been really exciting and has in fact exceeded our expectations so we are disappointed that COVID19 has prevented teams from taking to courts to contest the finals.”
Following a difficult finish to the regular season where The University of Melbourne (MELB) v University of Western Australia (UWA Maali) games had to be abandoned due to COVID related inter-state travel implications, the season came to a close after 40 games were contested across four states.
The final standings following the regular season.
The University of Sydney (USYD) have come out on top of both women’s and men’s competitions, with La Trobe University (LTU), Victoria University (VU), The University of Western Australia (UWA), University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) all finishing in the top four.
UTS narrowly missed out on the top spot in the men’s competition having tied with USYD at the end of the regular season. Final ladder positions came down to the outcome of these two teams in their head-to-head. With the likes of the high-flying Alex Higgins-Titsha (Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Management) and captained by the three-point specialist Reggie Ridlen (Bachelor of Science), UTS’ performance in this inaugural season has led to many impressive matches including the match against USYD that saw the local rivals going into overtime.
USYD was headed up by the masterful Ryan Abbott (Bachelor of Arts Media and Communications) with finesse you’ve never seen before and anchored by Miguel Campos (Bachelor of Engineering and Science) who almost breaks the rim on every dunk.
Taking out third place on the men’s ladder this season was UWA Maali. Kiyah O’Donohue (Bachelor of Science) and Nick Blight (Bachelor of Science - Engineering) dominated on both ends of the floor helping the team from the west make their mark in 2021.
With solid performances throughout the season, Ovie Magbegor (Bachelor of Law/ Criminology) and Christian Yammouni (Bachelor of Health Sciences) contributed to LTU’s fourth place position averaging 17.8 and 21.25 points per game respectively.
Just shy of finishing in the top four in the men’s competition, VU had some standout players including Mitch Dielemans (Master of Health Science (Osteopathy)) who topped the average points per game (27.67), average assists (8) and provided plenty of experience for his team. Gene Vocale (Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education) was also impressive each game with over 12 average points and a steady free-throw percentage in his inaugural season.
USC’s Callum Parsons (Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science) consistently fought hard each game, with an average of 10 rebounds and 13.24 points. Ben Maguire (Bachelor of Sports Studies) had high accuracy throughout his season and added an average 10 points each game for the only Queensland team in the league.
Joel Rimes (Doctor of Philosophy) and Lucas Sijkevski (Master of Engineering) were both integral in MELB’s season kicking off the UBL in spectacular fashion with a one-point win over local rivals VU, with Joel averaging 24 points and Lucas averaging 3.5 assists per game.
In the women’s competition, USYD found their way to the minor premiership position at the end of the rounds. Led by Maddie O’Hehir (Bachelor of Commerce) who dominated in offence and defence and aided by Inez Tanoi (Bachelor of Social Work) who is unstoppable when it comes to rebounds (10.75 average).
VU have made a name for themselves this season finishing third on the ladder. When Tegan Hindle (Bachelor of Education Studies) has the ball in her hands anything can happen and Peta Rhodes’ (Bachelor of Sport Management/ Bachelor of Business) ability from long range makes three pointers look easy.
LTU join USYD as the only universities placing in top four of both the men’s and women’s competitions. Anna Burrows (Bachelor of Commerce and Science) kicked off game one as top scorer for LTU. Tasha Overby’s (Bachelor of Criminology) experience was evident with an average of 20.8 points each game for the LTU women this season.
With the experience of Francis Donders (Master of Teaching) and Georgia Berry (Bachelor of Occupational Therapy) USC fought hard throughout their matches often with close finishes but unfortunately not enough wins on the board to finish higher than fourth position.
MELB’s Danni Pisano (Master of Teaching) and Isabella Renton (Bachelor of Science) were a formidable pair for their squad, with Danni’s defensive rebounds and Isabella’s consistent shooting playing an integral part in the season.
UWA Maali were extremely close to finishing in the top 4 at the end of the regular season, missing out in the narrowest of margins. Chloe Forster (Bachelor of Sports Science) topped the points scored with an average 27.8 per game as well as 20 steals throughout the season. Jenna Teasdale (Bachelor of Philosophy) was the rebound champion in the competition, averaging 12 per game providing a consistent offence and defence for her team.
With so many outstanding team and individual performances it comes as no surprise to see joint winners for both the men’s and women’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards.
Congratulations to the 2021 MVPs:
Maddie O’Hehir, USYD, Bachelor of Commerce
Chloe Forster, UWA, Bachelor of Sports Science
Joel Rimes, MELB, Doctor of Philosophy
Ovie Magbegor, LTU, Bachelor of Law/ Criminology
From top left: Maddie O’Hehir (Bachelor of Commerce), Chloe Forster (Bachelor of Sports Science), Joel Rimes (Doctor of Philosophy) and Ovie Magbegor (Bachelor of Law/ Criminology)
Despite not being able to play the finals series, the inaugural UBL was full of thrilling plays and close matches - we look forward to more outstanding university basketball with the expansion of the UBL in 2022.