Special baskets and new parquet from the outside. Next week, Ulriken Eagles will attempt to qualify for the European Cup at Haukelandshallen.
Last season, Ulriken Elite Women won league gold.
This summer, the annual meeting decided it was time to invest in Europe. The team entered the European Cup.
Next week is the first qualifying match at Haukelandshallen. There they meet Liege Panthers from Belgium.
– This is an exciting challenge. The players are very prepared, says the chairman of the board, Arild Buen, at Ulriken Eagles.
Special baskets and new parquet from the outside
Buen says that planning the event has been demanding. Mainly due to the strict requirements of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
At the beginning of next week, a new parquet floor will be installed in Haukelandshallen for this match. The flat was bought in Latvia, built in Germany and trucked to Norway.
– The apartment costs more than a million. The Norwegian Basketball Association paid for it and will use the court later. Among other things, they will organize a national party in Bergen, says Buen.
After the national team game in November, the floor will disappear again, possibly until Ulriken finishes in the European Cup.
– Basketball is the largest indoor sport in the world. It is a very high level internationally, and the international association FIBA has requirements for its matches, says Brent Hackman, sports director of the Norwegian Basketball Association.
He says that the floor should be parquet, have a safety zone and should not have any other marks than basketball.
Also, the scoreboard and shot clock must be in place. The room must also have an audience capacity of at least 2,500 people.
There were also no FIBA approved basketball hoops in Norway. With the help of the Bergen Municipality, these baskets are already installed in Haukelandshallen. These remain standing.
– There are almost no stadiums in Norway that are FIBA approved. So we went to buy a moving floor, which can be used by our clubs in Norway, says Hackman.
– It will be very exciting
Good on Ulriken describes the team as a good mix of young and old players, maintaining a high level. But what are the chances of classifying?
– It will be great if we make it. This is the first time in thirty years that a Norwegian women’s team has participated in the European Cup.
It was Høybråten who at the time participated in the European Cup in 1990. On the men’s side, Kongsberg Miners participated in 2019. Now it is Ulriken Eagles’ turn.
– It’s too big for us. “We haven’t been involved in this before, and we don’t really know what we’re headed for,” says Ulriken player Stine Austgulen.
– Goes for victory
Austgulen says there is an excited but good atmosphere among the players just over a week before the match starts.
– Of course, we enter the fight with the conviction that it will take us further. The level is good, but we are not sure where we are in relation to the team we will face. Belgium is very good at basketball, he says.
Ulriken Eagles’ top scorer returned to the club and to Norway in 2019. She has spent six years of college basketball at Colorado State University in the US She believes this can be a good experience heading into the qualifying game.
– Basketball in the United States is much bigger. Physics and pacing are something completely different internationally, compared to what is found in Norway. We try to simulate it in our training, he says.
Austgulen hopes that the people of Bergen know their visiting hours.
– It is a very big and completely unique match. We hope that as many as possible will come, says Austgulen.