Reformed English Universities women's team back on the court

The English Universities Sport (EUS) women's basketball team celebrated the first anniversary of their reformation with a trip to St Alban's to take on the WBBL's Oaklands Wolves.

Despite losing 106-43, Head Coach Zach Meekings saw the meeting as evidence of the access to 'high-level' sporting opportunities the EUS can provide.

Before Christmas, over 30 players – three times more than the previous season – attended trials at Brunel and De Montfort universities, with 17 institutions nominating players for the first time. This growth means that a third of all eligible universities with women’s basketball teams have engaged with the programme over the past 12 months.

“We’re committed to growing the programme as far as possible to ensure that students’ academic choices don’t prevent them from showcasing their talent and accessing opportunities to experience representative and high-level basketball,” said Meekings.

The EUS administrates and sanctions all representative student sport and competition across higher education in England and both the women's and men's teams are now in preparation for a universities home nations tournament, which will be their first since 2016. 

The tournament will see the national university teams of England, Scotland and Wales play against each other across a number of sports. 

English Universities Squad Announcements for 2023/24


Tayo Ogedengbe

An honour for me to be patron

Surrey Scorchers captain and EUS Patron, Tayo Ogedengbe, said the programme was going from strength to strength.

“Since restarting, the programme has gone from strength to strength, and players are benefiting from the experience as I did back in 2008.

"It’s such an honour for me to be patron to EUS and I look forward to championing the role student sports plays in higher education, acting as a role model and supporting the work EUS delivers to develop the next generation of stars.”

A great example of this ‘next generation’ is Fabienne Zere.

Fabienne – who signed her first pro contract with the Oaklands Wolves – is a student athlete, who was able to use her EUS selection and subsequent performances as a ‘stepping stone’ to realise her on-court ambitions. 

"English Universities was really a stepping stone for me," said Fabienne.

“We had the chance to play against a professional team and a national selection, which allowed me to gain experience. Thanks to the staff, who were able to see our potential. Following this experience, I had the opportunity to launch my professional career.”

These value-add opportunities are also attracting players from Basketball England’s Talent Pathway, who opt to study and play as undergraduates at UK universities. To date, two Great Britain U18 internationals and 12 WEABL alumni – from 8 different academies – have been nominated for selection.

With six months to go until the return of the home nations tournament, the EUS teams have an ambitious preparation programme ahead, with opponents including WBBL, WNBL and national representative teams, including the Royal Navy and a Wales senior team.