From left: Hoani Smith, Lucy Brown, Rosalia Samia, Connie Poletti, Ajiah Pepe and coach Josh Thompson

Win for Lincoln

by Mike Isle

The Lincoln University women’s basketball team have shot to glory in the University and Tertiary Sport New Zealand 3×3 Championships, taking out the tournament for the third year in a row.

Connie Poletti, Ajiah Pepe, Lucy Brown and Rosalia Samia showed off their unbeatable experience and class at the weekend, narrowly winning the women’s semi-final over Canterbury 20–18, then emerging victorious in the final, beating the University of Auckland 14–12.

Lincoln head coach Josh Thompson said the team went undefeated for two days and the players were composed throughout the entire tournament.

“We started our preparation around February this year, so the girls have had a lot of prep and some early morning training. They’ve put in a lot of work, and it paid off in the end.”

Coach Thompson had particular praise for Poletti, who he described as a great leader, not just on the court, but off the court as well.

“She knows what she needs to do and how to put the team in positions to win these games.”

Poletti said the team’s ability to adapt quickly was what sealed the deal for them.

“Our defence was really good the whole game; we needed to make sure they couldn’t shoot. Then just understanding that I could work in the post a lot more since we weren’t hitting outside shots. So, adapting was really key.”

The Lincoln women’s team will head to the world championships in China from October 30 to November 3.