Chance to see quality women’s basketball

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Oamaru basketball fans have already seen the Rams and the Sharks – now the Goldrush is coming.

The Otago women’s team plays the Canterbury Wildcats at the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre on Sunday at 1pm.

It follows the pre-season men’s NBL clash between the Canterbury Rams and the Southland Sharks that attracted a raucous crowd in Oamaru.

Basketball Otago general manager Justin Ludlow, a familiar face after his years as Oamaru Licensing Trust manager, is excited about bringing more good basketball to the town.

“It’s going to be good fun. We’re looking forward to it.”

Ludlow said Oamaru fans could expect to see some top-quality basketball on Sunday.

“The standard in the Women’s Basketball Championship is really high. It’s a lot different to the men’s NBL but it’s really hard, grinding basketball.

“They’re all mums or students or working in careers. They’re not paid.

“We’re really stoked with how women’s basketball is tracking.”

The Goldrush is coached by Otago basketball stalwarts Todd Marshall and Dean Ruske.

It is not just any old opposition, either. The Wildcats are the defending WBC champions.

“They were quite dominant last year,” Ludlow said.

Goldrush players are also co-ordinating a coaching clinic for North Otago’s female players. It will run from 10am to 11.30am.

Ludlow said women’s basketball was in a reasonably healthy state but there were still issues to address.

“We’re always looking for more girls to play basketball, but a big proportion of female basketballers also play netball, so that can become an issue.

“Numbers are on the rise in the junior ranks, but it’s critical we keep more of the older girls involved if we can.”