Women’s basketball trip showcases culture and competition

September 6, 2019

The women’s basketball team’s recent trip to Europe is one that the teammates will take with them throughout the rest of their Brandeis careers. Every four years, the team travels to a different part of the world to explore, compete with local teams and provide basketball clinics to local children. This trip took the team to different parts of Spain and Portugal during their 11 day trip in mid-August. 

During the trip, the team traveled to Porto and Lisbon in Portugal and Seville, Spain. In each of the cities, they went on various walking tours, seeing monasteries, cathedrals, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites and a Flamenco show, among other things. 

In addition to sightseeing, the team also competed against two local club teams in Portugal, Galitos Basquetebol and Belenenses. They also ran a basketball clinic for local youth in Seville.

Lauren Rubinstein ’20, a point guard on the team, told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview that she “was beyond excited about the trip . . . given that I have never been to another country, let alone been able to travel to so many places.” Rubinstein explained that they found out about the trip during the previous school year. 

She went on to explain that her favorite non-basketball memory during the trip was visiting Nazaré, a beach town in Portugal. “It sat right next to this wild cliff and the water was amazingly clear,” she added. Her favorite basketball memory was a training session the team did with a Spanish team near Seville. “That was a really cool experience, not only being able to play with them but also learning how they do and teaching them how we do,” she explained. 

Julia St. Amand ’20, another guard on the team, had previously traveled to Spain but not the places they were visiting. “I couldn’t wait to tell my mom about the trip because I knew she’d be so excited to go,” Amand told The Hoot. 

Her favorite day was visiting Palàcio Nacional de Pena and the Castle of Moors in Portugal. “My favorite basketball memory was when we played a Portugal national team that had three girls who were the top three players in the country,” St. Amand said. 

“This is one of the most memorable experiences of my Brandeis basketball career,” St. Amand told The Hoot. “It’s so special and so unique I was able to travel abroad with my best friends. Portugal and Spain were the most amazing countries and I’m so grateful BWB was able to provide this amazing opportunity for me and my teammates!”

Head Coach Carol Simon told The Hoot in an email that during her 32 years at Brandeis, they have gone on these trips with four different teams. Previous destinations have included Greece/Cyprus, Italy and Spain. These trips initially started as “bonding [for the team], building team dynamics and learning about new cultures,” she wrote.

As a coach, Simon is excited to learn more about the culture of Portugal and Spain, play in matches against local teams and run the clinic. The opportunity to run a clinic gives players a chance to “meet people from other countries . . . through similar interests and community service,” said Simon. 

Simon continued, saying that the trip is all-expenses paid, with a majority of the funding coming from their annual golf tournament and donations from Brandeis Women’s Basketball alumni.

Editor’s Note: Sports Editor Sophie Trachtenberg is a member of the Brandeis Women’s Basketball Team and did not contribute to reporting. 

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