Written by Eric McAlister. Photos by JDR Creative
The women are looking for what hopes to be a successful campaign for the 2022 NBL1 North season.
With Coach Jamie Glover at the helm in his second NBL1 season, there is a lot of optimism around the construction of this years program.
With the return of captain Liisa Ups and local talent, Meghan Ditchburn and Maddie Doorn the girls look to build on the foundation of the previous season.
Forward Carlie Smith also returns to Rip City after a successful campaign with the club last season.
Coach Glover has also secured the services of two key pieces for the 2022 season in Opals Squad member Maddy Rocci and American import Ashley Arlen.
Rocci, a point guard will look to run the show while Arlen should provide an interior presence for the women.
As the rebuild from last years team continues, a slew of young, new talent will make its way onto the floor this season as well, as a host of juniors will see some action with the departure of a handful of players from last years team.
Both Maddie and Zoe Campbell have joined on for the season. Maddie, a guard will assist Rocci in ball handling duties while Zoe will provide more size and versatility for the team.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at why there is good reason to be excited about this years team.
1. Fast Paced, Exciting Basketball
The women have put together a solid side that will look to play an exciting style of basketball.
With the influx of youth, the women will look to push the ball early and often. With great athletes throughout the roster, running lanes should be often as Rocci and Campbell look to push the tempo in search of easy baskets.
With guards that excel in transition, defence will be of utmost importance. An aggressive style of play will look to be the mainstay of the women’s program. Carlie Smith will look to use her length and athleticism to wreak havoc on opposing offences early and often.
With a slew of juniors who will provide high energy and possess great athleticism, the pressure will be a constant on opposing teams. Offensively, Rip City will look to attack the basket, opening the opportunity for three point attempts. On the defensive end, the women will look to play an “in your face” style, sure to frustrate opposing teams.
2. The Experienced Core
With the departure of last years imported players outside of Smith, the core group this year will pose for an exciting show.
Both Rocci and Smith have had WNBL stints and Australian representative duties (Rocci Opals, Smith 3x3) which has given them invaluable experience along the way.
Arlen, a professional throughout the European ranks for seven years and American college experience, also possesses great experience in her travels.
Liisa Ups and twin sister Kat, both had college careers at the University of Buffalo, a high level American college.
That experience will be key throughout the season as adversity inevitably comes to fruition. Along with that experience comes ability, though.
Rocci has a seemingly sixth sense to get to the basket and use crafty finishes to come away with points. Smith is an athletic workhorse, able to stretch the floor and dominate on the glass (season high 25 rebounds against Northside last season.)
Arlen has great size that should dominate the paint but also has the ability to step out and shoot the three, forcing defences out of their comfort zones.
Both Ups twins provide a scoring punch and defensive presence that will carry through to the rest of the team. As a much improved cast from last year, they will look to use their size, experience and ability to churn out more wins for the club this year under the guidance of Coach Glover.
The older core will look to make a big impact this year in their drive to make finals for the 2022 campaign.
This is what should really excite you this year. A young core of Sunshine Coast talent will look to play a big part in the success of the season. With the return of Maddie and Zoe Campbell, excitement and optimism can be felt in the young core.
Esther Fleming has really impressed this pre season and has been given the nod to the NBL1 list. Millie Willox, a club junior, has a bright future, full of athleticism and energy that she looks to unleash on the floor this year, as well.
Alongside Willox and Fleming, Brooklyn Graves, Alisha Howey, Jess Johnstone, Abby Hilderbrand, Jaz Blundell and Jordy Diegmann have all played roles in the pre season efforts of the team thus far. All six will look to make their impact throughout the season.
The young talent this year looks to be the foundation of the women’s team in the coming years, as with experience comes learning. With the experienced core of older girls, it is an exciting time to watch the progression and overall development of what could be the clubs future core of players for the women’s program. It is an exciting time to be a Rip City Supporter!
USC’s NBL1 season starts in 30th April with the first six rounds on the road due to Suncorp Super Netball but Rip City’s run home will be mostly at home. Rip City are looking forward to the first home game on the 11th June vs Southern District Spartans. The finals will be played in August-September after a 15-round regular season.
For season tickets go to this link
For sponsorship and partnership opportunities, email email@example.com