On the first day of BUCS (British University and College Sports) Leagues, De Montfort University had a day of mixed results. The women’s Lacrosse won their first ever match in BUCS, with a resounding 12-9 win against rivals, the University of Leicester. The final fixture of the day took place in the Leicester Arena, where the DMU Women’s basketball team (nicknamed ‘Pitbulls’) were looking to start their season with a win against the University of Nottingham (UoN).

After a number of changes during the summer, including now playing at the Leicester Arena, home of the Leicester Riders and a brand new coach, the girls were hoping to have a change in fortune as they looked to get off to a flying start.

Both sides started with a number of missed opportunities, however the Pitbulls were looking dominant in the first few minutes until they were finally able to break the deadlock to make it 2-0 to the home side. With the play continuing to be in favour of the Pitbulls, they conceded a basket with 5 minutes left of play in the first quarter. A constant back and forth battle ensued with the home side unlucky to concede to the opposition after scoring on the counter attack to bring it to 4-4. With two minutes of play in the first quarter left, the Pitbulls took the lead after a flurry of good attacking play, ending the half 6-4 up.

The second quarter opened up the game a bit, as the Pitbulls became more comfortable after a cagey first quarter. With six minutes left, the score was tied at 8-8 after a number of good plays and fouls. A poor defence from UoN and a brilliant offensive move meant that the Pitbulls were able to capitalise and bring back a 2-point lead. After a lucky turnover in play, UoN brought it back to a draw. The Pitbulls started to show off their skill after this, as they dominated their way to a 5-point lead, going in at the end of the first half 17-12 up.

The Pitbulls continued their dominance into the third quarter, as they extended their lead to 21-14. With stout defending, the Pitbulls were able to withhold a barrage of offense from Nottingham, until a sporadic burst of point scoring meant that the away side dragged their way into the lead for the first time in the match. The lead kept switching back and forth until the final minute, where the Pitbulls were able to take a 1-point lead and hold it until the end of the third quarter, leaving them 25-24 with the final quarter left to play.

UoN came out of the break with a vengeance, yet the Pitbulls held off the barrage of offence for the first couple of minutes. With minor sparks of offensive potential throughout the barrage, the Pitbulls were showing that they were defensively solid as well as capable of creating havoc up front, as they conceded and immediately hit back with an unorthodox shot slipping in to retain their 1-point lead with the score being 27-26.  With just over six minutes’ left on the clock, a UoN player went down with an ankle injury, ending her game as she was helped off by her team. After resuming play, whatever the coach said to the team paid off as they quickly dispatched 4 baskets, increasing their lead to 35-26 with only three minutes remaining. With the forwards hitting their stride both offensively and defensively, the Pitbulls dominated until the final minute; UoN tried to make a comeback, which was denied as the Pitbull’s were still leading 35-32. The Pitbulls quickly scored, with an immediate reply and with 30 seconds left on the clock, they pushed to extend their lead, missing twice but running the clock down to the win.

This was an absolutely incredible game, with passion shown from the Pitbulls, with some bursting into tears as they won their first game in two seasons. This truly encompasses what sports mean to De Montfort University and shows an incredible improvement from last year. Hopefully they will be able to build on this and succeed in their league this year.

Final Score: De Montfort University Women’s 1st team 37:34 University of Nottingham Women’s 3rd team