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27 September 2018 | in 3x3 Basketball, University World Cup - 3x3

Watch out for the teams from Down Under in 3x3 Finals

Oceania teams get ready for 3x3 FISU WUL Finals

 

The countdown has begun. With seven weeks to go for the 3x3 FISU World University League Finals, the best university teams from around the world have started their preparations. These 32 teams – 16 each in the men’s and women’s fields – have earned the honour of representing their continents after coming through tough continental qualifying tournaments.

 

The 3x3 FISU WUL Finals in Xiamen, China, will be held from 15-18 November 2018 and will be contested by teams from Oceania, Asia, Americas, Africa and Europe.

 

Jacqui Trotto of Monash University, Australia can’t wait to get on that plane to China this November.

 

“Being able to represent Australia and Monash is especially exciting,” she says. “But meeting people from all across the world, building new friendships and being part of such an enjoyable tournament is also something I’m looking forward to.”

 
Trotto’s skills were crucial in getting Monash to the FISU 3x3 Finals, says team manager Georgia Stirton.

 

“While each player was able to contribute something unique, Jacqui was able to get us some big defensive stops, helping us win certain games,” she says.

 

And if you think they are happy being the top team from Australia, think again. Stirton says they are really looking forward to playing against new competition.

 

“It will challenge us,” she says. “We look forward to being able to experience different countries’ styles of play and trying to adapt.” 

 

Along with teammates Cahlia Haslam, Emily Rylance and Sian Gillam, Jacqui Trotto believes they are fully prepared for the physicality the tournament will demand.

 

“I believe we are a very active and determined team that’s absolutely up for the challenging and physical nature of 3x3,” she says. She also believes that it was one of the reasons they topped the qualifying tournament. “I think we were just well prepared and up for the physicality of the game.”

 

The men's team from Australia is Macquarie University. 

 

Over in New Zealand the men’s team from University of Auckland is still celebrating, having taken out Lincoln University in the semi-final and the University of Otago in the final. Lincoln had won the qualification last year and gone onto represent New Zealand at the 3x3 FISU WUL Finals. This time, even though Auckland lost one game to Lincoln, they won everything else and booked their ticket to China.  

 

“We lost 1 of the 10 games played to the team that won it all last year, Lincoln,” says Zachary Easthope, who prefers to just be called ‘Zac’.

 

“It was a pool game that was close the entire way,” he recounts. “We had great preparation leading up to the tournament. Our coach Karl Noyer, who also plays in the New Zealand men's 3x3 team organised games for us to play. This helped us a lot. We were feeling strong going into the tournament.”

 

Easthope mentions teammate Shay Graham as one to watch out for in the Finals. “He was hitting some big shots the entire tournament,” he says of the qualifiers. “He made smart in-game decisions and brought some much needed experience to the team.”

 

The other members of the team are Lis Haraqia and Samuel Aruwa, with Tiwai Wilson accompanying them as manager. “We love to play the physical brand of basketball that New Zealand is used to,” he adds.

 

Lincoln University may have missed out in the men's event, but their women's team topped the qualifying tournament to be assured of a spot in the Finals.  Check out the results of the qualifying tournament in Australia here and the one in New Zealand here.

 

The Lincoln women's team was ably led by captain Connie Poletti throughout the qualifying tournament. Poletti is thrilled with the result, but is already looking forward to the Finals in November.

 

"The competition has definitely improved so much since last year," says Poletti, who was also part of the team that competed in Xiamen in the 2017 edition of the 3x3 FISU WUL Finals.

 

"It is really exciting and challenging. The 2018 (qualifying) tournament was a mental battle for us. We learnt a lot of very important lessons and are looking forward to growing and implementing them in China, when we represent Lincoln University and New Zealand.”

 

Due to her prowess on court, Poletti has been named Most Valuable Player in a number of national and regional tournaments, but for her the standout player in their squad is guard Sophie Schrader. 

 

"Her ability to hit shots from outside the arch and attack the rim helped a lot with scoring," Poletti says, full of praise for her teammate. "Especially when we began to fatigue and started making mistakes."

 

All four teams from Down Under are counting the days till the 3x3 FISU World University League Finals start in Xiamen. Monash manager Georgia Stirton believes it is a great opportunity for the young student athletes. “I think it is a great idea, allowing university students to travel and showcase their basketball skills on a bigger, international stage!”

 

Next week, get to know more about the teams from Africa. Don’t forget to mark the dates 15-18 November!

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