The DMU Women’s Basketball 1st team (Pitbulls) and the DMU Men’s Basketball 1st team (Griffins) pulled off what seemed an impossible feat and won their varsity in a hectic day which saw DMU go 10-3 in the series after a number of dramatic results. De Montfort University have been in the shadow of the University of Leicester in terms of sport over the past few years, especially in Varsity as DMU have never won a Varsity. However, this year people are believing after both the DMU Pitbulls and Griffins pulled off historic wins against their bitter rivals.
With DMU going into the day 5-1 up overall, today could have been the stumbling block, however after a fantastic day of sport, DMU ended up 10-3 after some of the best performances produced in many years.
The first game was the DMU Pitbulls against the University of Leicester Women, where for the past few years, DMU have been outclassed throughout. However, the contrast in performances was immense as the Pitbulls went in underdogs, but they fought a hard battle. With DMU and UoL match each other for most of the game, the class of the players had to shine through to be able to pull off the incredible. DMU were able to go in at the first quarter 11-10 up and full of confidence as they had figured out UoL’s weakness, whilst UoL could not find one tactic that worked every time.
The second quarter was much the same story as DMU kept pressing the initiative but UoL was unable to set into a rhythm as DMU’s errors throughout the quarter cost them an even bigger lead. With a number of fouls called against them, as well as travel violations (which is where a player moves more than two steps without dribbling the ball) gave the University of Leicester enough chance to bring it within two points. DMU were able to hold onto the lead as UoL missed their buzzer beating shot and at half-time, DMU lead by 23-21.
UoL looked to try to start clawing back the deficit but as they converted a free throw, DMU put in another, their lead extending to 3 points. DMU were able to hold their lead over the University of Leicester team as they called a time out, the score being 34-32. More and more people were arriving and DMU were outnumbering the UoL crowd considerably and as the Men’s team came and sat with the crowd towards the end of the 3rd quarter, they spurred the crowd to keep up their support for the DMU Pitbulls. At the end of the third quarter, DMU still lead 38-33 as they made a 5 point lead for themselves.
Going into the final 4 minutes of the 4th quarter, DMU were 42-40 as the intensity picked up and the crowd kept their hopes alive. DMU extended their lead and just as DMU thought the game was over, Captain Zee was fouled with only 0.7 seconds left. Maybe one of the most emotional endings to a game she will ever have as she put away one of the free throws and DMU had won in an incredible game 45-40. The incredible scenes after, with some of the players in tears as they had gone from not winning a single game for 2 years to being Varsity champions.
Straight after the emotional game by the Pitbulls, the Griffins had to play in the arena where the emotions were running wild on both sides. The University of Leicester had been dominating the game after DMU were unable to settle themselves down as UoL went 9-5, but DMU never looked out of the game. At the end of the first quarter, DMU were behind 12-8 as they tried to calm themselves down to get work their way into the game.
DMU opened the second quarter with a 2-point shot as they narrowed the gap to 12-10. DMU then kept up the offensive with a beautiful 3-point shot. But UoL didn’t want to be outdone as they immediately replied with a 3-point shot of their own. Both kept trying their best to keep up the pressure and DMU tried to claw back their deficit, but UoL didn’t let them as they trailed 29-22 at the half-way stage. The stand was nearly full as the arena kept chanting and showing their support for their teams throughout the half time. Whatever coach Igor Mirkovic said to the team really did the trick as the Griffins showed their amazing second half determination.
The Griffins needed to make up 7 points quickly to calm the nerves of the crowd who was high on emotion after the first game. DMU certainly did that as within 2 minutes of the 3rd quarter, they had drawn it level at 29-29. DMU and UoL tried to match each other, however UoL were eventually breaking as DMU took the lead and held it for the entire quarter, making sure that UoL had very little opportunity to get back into the game and the scoring had dramatically increased as DMU lead 42-41
DMU came back into the 4th quarter with a fire lit in their bodies as they fought their way through the occasion and kept up their persistent offense as DMU kept piling bodies forward as DMU went 52-47 in a matter of a few minutes. Before anyone could come to terms with what was happening, DMU went 59-49 ahead and a final basket by DMU meant that with 22 seconds left on the clock, UoL dropped the ball and shook hands as they understood they could not come back from a 61-49 deficit. A fantastic day in DMU’s history as Basketball took the double from UoL and showed the university that this year could very well be our year. DMU have a 7 point lead going into Sunday as DMU lead 10-3.