SAM Roscoe enjoyed her two years at Lakeside and is enjoying her time also playing in the United Kingdom, but the Warwick Senators will always be home and that’s why she was so excited to return in 2019 and now hopes to help them to a Grand Final this weekend.
Roscoe grew up playing with the Senators and did play her first 55 games in the Women’s SBL with the club back between 2011-13 before beginning her outstanding four-year college career at the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks.
By the time Roscoe was a senior, she was putting up 10.4 points and 5.0 rebounds a game in college so she was always going to be hot property upon leaving and that saw her sign both with the Lakeside Lightning in the Women’s SBL and then with the Manchester Mystics of the Women’s BBL.
The last two years has seen Roscoe be a cornerstone of the success at Lakeside who only bowed out in three games of the semi finals to Mandurah in 2017 and then dominated 2018 on the way to the championship.
Playing at Manchester also continues to go hand in hand with Roscoe completing her master’s degree at Manchester Metropolitan University where she is on scholarship so it’s fair to say she is making quite the success of her basketball career already on both sides of the world.
But after those two years at the Lightning, Roscoe’s pull was there to return to Warwick in 2019 and under new coach Dion Dagostino and with the promise of forming a front court alongside Tayla Hepburn and Bianca Villegas, Roscoe jumped at the chance.
She didn’t arrive until seven games into the season, but quickly fitted in well and went on to average 9.6 points and 5.5 rebounds a game the rest of the regular season with the Senators finishing in fourth place before beating the Willetton Tigers in two games of the quarter finals.
That set up a tantalising semi-final match up with Roscoe’s old Lightning team with Lakeside again finishing on top of the table as they attempt to defend their championship.
But it was the Senators that went up with a one-nil lead last Saturday night winning 87-75 at Lakeside Recreation Centre with Roscoe delivering 18 points and 11 rebounds while knocking down 4/7 from three-point land including a patch in the second quarter where she couldn’t miss.
That now leaves Roscoe and the Senators one win away from a Grand Final berth with Game 2 this Friday night at Warwick Stadium.
While Roscoe couldn’t be happier with that Game 1 showing and she’s enjoying the challenge of playing Lakeside, she knows they will have to improve further to eliminate them this weekend.
“Last game we played team basketball. We found what worked and ran with it then adjusted to the feel of the game. Lakeside are great with scouting so will throw a lot at us, which we will need to adapt to quarter by quarter,” Roscoe said.
“It’s a lot of fun to play against Lakeside. I have good banter with the girls and Craig (Mansfield) so it’s always nice to have that extra competition. It also raises motivation of course to play the old club.”
When Roscoe signed with the Senators for 2019 one of their great strengths looked likely to be her front court combination alongside Hepburn and Villegas.
However, late in the regular season with Hepburn on a planned six-week holiday and Villegas going down injured meant they were looking skinny up front with Roscoe holding down the fort on her own.
But the trio is now back together come playoff time and the results have been the two wins over Willetton and Game 1 win against Lakeside.
Combine that front court with the back court of Samaria Howard and Stacey Barr combined with the depth provided by Nicole Jorre De St Jorre, Hannah and Rebekah Throns, Emma Burke, and Maddison Hooper and Roscoe couldn’t be happier with the team she’s part of.
“It’s amazing to have Bianca healthy and Tayla home. It’s reassuring to have such a strong rotation of bigs, while also working well together, and having a lot of trust for one another,” she said.
“To have Stacey and Sam leading the back court takes a lot of pressure of our bigs. Sam pushes the ball so well while Stacey is obviously a huge asset to the team.”
It’s probably only fitting that upon Roscoe’s return to the Senators in 2019 they come up against the Lightning who she was such a key player with the past two years and celebrated last year’s championship with.
While there’s no ill-feeling on either side, Roscoe’s focus is fully now on beating her former team to get the Senators to their first Grand Final since 2007 and to attempt to win their first championship since 1994.
“There’s no bad blood with Lakeside and never will be,” Roscoe said.
“I left on good terms with the club, the girls and Craig and will always respect that. But coming home to Warwick, my junior club, it will be an amazing feeling to hopefully take this win.”
Since finishing college, Roscoe has been playing basketball all-year round both in the SBL and the WBBL in the UK.
That means that she does miss the start of the SBL seasons but to miss the pre-season work is something she’s not too unhappy about, and she will continue to juggle both until her studies are complete and then weigh up what her next move will be.
“Playing in the WBBL is an amazing experience. I have a Scholarship for my master’s in business management while competing with Manchester in the national league. It’s tough to play year round, but it’s very rewarding… plus missing preseason isn’t the worst thing!” she said.
“I have one more year with the WBBL to finish my masters, and will always return home to the SBL. I’m not sure what the future holds, maybe Europe or try for the WNBL.”
As for where her loyalties lie, even though Roscoe has spent time with the Great Britain team and hopes for that to continue, she’ll always consider herself an Australian.
“I’m definitely a true Aussie by heart! I am lucky enough to be invited to Great Britain training camps and hopefully compete for GB this following season, but nothing can take away my passion for being a true blue Aussie!”