South West Slammers women’s NBL1 team say they’ll never give up

At the bottom of the NBL1 women’s ladder is a team that dreams of one more victory before the end of the season.

After a home game on Saturday afternoon, the South West Slammers’ women’s locker room was filled with disappointment when basketball coach Robyn Vogel tore her team apart.

“It was one of the worst games you’ve ever played,” she said.

For more than half the season, the team she coached in May struggled to win all but one game.

It is their only match won in three years.

With so many losses, it was friendship, loyalty and the unwavering hope of one more win that kept the players coming back.

The South West Women’s Slammers are a semi-professional NBL1 team.(ABC Southwest: Dinushi Dias)

The Bunbury-based side were stuck at the bottom of the ladder, managing to break their losing streak only after Vogel joined the team as manager.

“You play women who have a lot of experience, so you can’t take it easy.”

The women play semi-professional basketball on an indoor court.
The league has attracted talented players from all over the world.(ABC Southwest: Dinushi Dias)

Having coached some of the team’s players as juniors, Vogel felt called to coach the Slammers despite the challenges.

She said a mix of factors, including many players’ age and limited professional experience, have contributed to the team’s struggles, but it’s something she believes they can overcome together. .

“I love these girls,” Vogel said.

“But like I said when we started, it’s going to be a long road and we have a lot of work to do.”

Two female basketball players jump for the ball inches from the net
Coach Vogel thinks the team can win again.(ABC Southwest: Dinushi Dias)

This year, the team welcomed American striker Tylinn Carter and Championship winner Alex Ciabattoni from South Australia, which has rekindled hopes.

“There are talented kids and women in this group,” Vogel said.

“We just need to exploit it, find it, and turn on the switch. Find that switch for each of them to achieve some success.”

Why come back after losing?

Grace Adams, 15, played her first season in NBL1 this year.

The teenager, towering over his schoolmates at 185 centimeters tall, is one of the youngest players on the pitch this year.

A teenage girl smiles while sitting on a bench next to a basketball court
Grace Adams hopes to play for the Women’s National Basketball League.(ABC Southwest: Dinushi Dias)

She said playing at a semi-professional level in front of hundreds of people was intimidating, but the camaraderie of her team helped.

“It was scary at first,” Adams said.

For 18-year-old Javene Fitch, who has played for the Slammers since 2018, it was a similar experience.

After suffering defeat after defeat, she considered quitting, but it was her teammates who kept her going.

“It was stressful. I didn’t know how difficult it would be,” Fitch said.

“My self-confidence was really low that first season, but as I progressed I got a lot of support and courage and it got a lot better.

“We become best friends.”

South West Slammers Teammates
Teammates Jasmine Barrett (right) and Skye Palmer (middle) say it’s heartbreaking when they lose.(ABC Southwest: Dinushi Dias)

Fitch, whose favorite basketball player is Perth Wildcats star Bryce Cotton, said her main goal is to become a better player and team-mate.

“I know I can be so much better than I was,” she said.

A win before the end of the season would also help.

“It could bring so much hope and positivity,” Fitch said.

“It’s worth it in the end.”

Girls wearing basketball vests sit beside the court watching a game
With less than half of the season remaining, every player hopes to rediscover the sweet taste of victory.(ABC Southwest: Dinushi Dias)

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