The Anglia Ruskin University Rhino's will be heading to their WNBL Senior Playoff Final game against Reading Rockets on Sunday.
We caught up with Rhino's player, Katrin Hulme ahead of their big game, in our latest Player Spotlight feature.
Name: Katrin Hulme
Team: Anglia Ruskin University - WNBL Division 1 (Women)
How would you describe ARU’s season so far?
I think this season has been a season of growth for us, both individually and as a team. As players, everyone has found their place in the team and what they can bring to the floor, and from a team perspective we're starting to consistently play the 'ARU way' - upbeat, for each other and hardworking. The exciting thing is that we are still building and looking to improve every week!
What would a victory next Sunday mean for the programme and the work you’ve done over the last few years?
Defending the championship would be huge for the programme. Taking last year into consideration, it's great that we have been able to carry the momentum from the backend of last season through to this season and finish second in the league. We've had disappointing performances at points this season, but have used these as learning experiences and as motivation. Winning on Sunday would be testament to everyone's hard work in this building process to get the programme to where it is now.
Nobody gave you a chance in last year’s Playoff Final but you shocked everyone to claim a famous victory. How does that result affect your side’s outlook going into next Sunday’s Final?
Having come back from both a slow start to the season and then being down in the Final, we know as well as anyone that it's not over until it's over! That win heightened our hunger and belief to make an impact this season, and was a really valuable experience of performing on the big stage. It means we know what it takes to win, but also that we cannot underestimate our opponents.
Can you tell us a bit about Coach Harber and his impact on the programme at ARU?
I think our successes in both National League and BUCS over the past two seasons - since Matt’s involvement at ARU - speak for themselves. But that doesn't just happen overnight - our steady improvement as a team is down to his hard work behind the scenes along with our coach Cristina from last season and our coach since January; Michael. The effort they put in to prepare for training and games sets a high standard of professionalism and expectation, which I think has filtered into the team and how we approach training and games.
What does the future hold for you? What are you looking to do in the next few years as a player and where do you see yourself going forward?
To be honest, I am just really enjoying playing at the moment. I work as a Health Psychologist between Cambridge and London and am very fortunate that I am able to do the job and basketball together, so want to continue progressing in both. I had a few injury issues this season so will be looking to get back to full fitness over the summer. Longer term, I'd like to keep improving as a player and as a leader, helping the younger players in the team find their way, both in basketball and academically/professionally. In terms of the programme, I think we have a really solid foundation now for developing and attracting talent to this area, especially as the university team have been promoted to the top BUCS league this season!