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Greatest ever accomplishment by the Women's Basketball Team!
Winning the Inter College Championship for the first time with "team power"

Yumi Niwa / Kiyomi Fujiu / Sakurako Mochizuki

A change -- it may seem easy, but for people and teams, it is difficult to change. However, through steady change, the WASEDA University Women's Basketball Team won the Inter College Championship in November 2011 for the first ever time. The turning point was a loss at the fall Kanto University Women's Basketball League held just before the championship.

Though the team had been expected to win consecutive championships, WASEDA was ranked number four because of the number of injured players. "Regular members were forced to leave the team in the middle of the league, and the coordination of the team wasn't working so well. Each player had skill, but as a team they couldn't get good results. That was the situation," Sakurako says. In fact, she was one of the members who had to desert the front line due to injury. "To strengthen the coordination of the team, we had to cheer each other up and understand what other teammates are thinking. I think this was what was insufficient," says Kiyomi who will become a coach this year.

We cannot go on like this. When all the members of the team were thinking this way, the head coach, Mikiko Hagiwara said, "Let's take a chance to think about communication together." Afterwards, a lecture by a former member of the team who is now engaged in business coaching was arranged. The theme was how to communicate. "The lecture was very useful. We reviewed manners of speaking, and I changed the way I talk to other members," says Yumi. Kiyomi also felt there was a good response. "During training after the lecture, the atmosphere was completely different. Everyone encouraged each other, and was really concentrating." She even felt, "If we can continue with such consistent practice, we will surely be number one in Japan." It was a great experience we had during practice before the Inter College Championship."

Women's Basketball Team achieved a national victory they had so longed for!

A change in the team manifested itself most clearly in the semifinals. In the fourth quarter, WASEDA was losing to Aichigakusen University by 14 points, and there was less than 10 minutes to go. "A few months before, we would have given up and wouldn't have caught up," Yumi says looking back. However, in this situation, "a changed WASEDA" displayed their best. The team turned back the tide of the match with replacement members, and went on to win the game. "WASEDA uniqueness lies in the strength of 'characters,' while the challenge was coordination, but in the semifinal, everyone on the court played an important role. It was a result of thinking about communication methods and strengthening coordination within the team," Sakurako says.

It was the first victory in the Inter College Championship, but it meant different things for the three members. For Kiyomi, it was a win she wanted for a year. In the 2010 Inter College Championship, we were defeated in the first match. For 4th year players who have now graduated, it must have been a sad experience. Even I was sad. So when we won the championship and I saw the graduates who came to support us, I couldn't stop crying" Yumi feels a strong sense of gratitude to her teammates. I won Most Valuable Player and title for most points scored, but it was because my teammates made great passes. I really feel that they helped me win." Sakurako who didn't take part due to injury feels half happy and half sad. "Winning the championship is of course wonderful, but I couldn't really feel happy as I wasn't in the game. This season, I will be team captain, so I hope to win Kanto University Women's League matches in spring and fall as well as the Inter College Championship for the triple-crown," she says forcefully. According to Kiyomi and Yumi, the new captain is a reliable person. All three of them say, "There is no team with stronger friendship and ties than us." The Women's Basketball Team will surely continue changing this year also.

New captain, Sakurako (forward)

New coach, Kiyomi (point guard)

MVP & Winner of the title for most points scored, Yumi (center)


Yumi Niwa (left)

Born in Gumna Prefecture. 4th year at the School of Sport Sciences. Graduated from Ohkagakuen High School. After learning that her favorite teacher went to WASEDA, she decided to enter WASEDA herself. Her favorite food is ice cream. She also loves music and cheers herself up before a match by listening to Chris Brown and Shota Shimizu!

Kiyomi Fujiu (center)

Born in Gunma Prefecture. 3rd year at the School of Sport Sciences. After graduating from Fukui Prefectural Asuwa Senior High School, she joined Chanson Cosmetics and became a key player of Chanson V-Magic. She decided to study sport sciences and entered WASEDA University. She was a player for two years, and in 2012, she supports the team as coach. Her hobby is taking photographs.

Sakurako Mochizuki (right)

Born in Tokyo. 4th year of the School of Human Sciences. Graduated from Chiba Prefectural Makuhari Sohgoh High School. Influenced by her sister, she started to play basketball in first grade. She entered WASEDA University because she wanted to play the sport in a more challenging atmosphere. Her hobby is shopping. She loves to go to coffee shops and drink honey-added coffee with milk.