Norwegian basketball international Stine Austgulen knows how to get better

Gepubliceerd op 22 juli 2022 om 08:30

The 28 years old basketball player Stine Austgulen has played for Ulriken Eagles in Bergen in the Norway-Kvinneligaen for three seasons now. Before that, she went to Colorado State from 2013 until 2018. In season 2018-2019 she had a shoulder injury, and decided to let her body heal before she would play basketball again. She gained a lot of experience and knowledge during the past few years, and is one of the steady players of the national team of Norway with an average of 19 points and 6 rebounds per game. Photo: FIBA Europe

Basketball runs in her family

Stine always wanted to be as good as her sisters. Right now, she is one of the better players in Norway. “Both my mom and dad played basketball in the Norwegian basketball team,” Stine says. “I grew up with that, and both of my sisters played basketball either. I wanted to join them to, so I started to play with my youngest older sister Maren, who is three years older than me. She is a post player / a center, and I am a shooting guard. We are both playing at Ulriken Eagles now, though Maren has played for Ulriken since 2015. She also went to the United States to play basketball, at the University of Idaho Athletics. It was fun to finally play together again at Ulriken.”

Basketball wasn’t the first sport that Stine tried. “I used to play soccer and handball when I was younger. I was really into handball back then, but I got a back injury during that. On the moment I decided to focus on playing basketball. When I knew that Maren would play in the United States, I knew for sure that I wanted to do the same things. Basketball is always a great opportunity to make new friends.”

Specialized as a sharpshooter in Colorado

And so it happened; Stine went to the United States. Her style of playing basketball would change since then. “Before I went to the United States, I almost did a little bit of everything in offense. When I got to Colorado State, I found out that doing a little bit of everything wasn’t enough. You have to specialize your style of playing. For me it ended up like being a sharpshooter. For the rehab of my shoulder injury, I did a lot of shooting on my own. That really helped my shot a lot. Here in Norway I still shoot a lot of threepointers, but I also want to drive every now and then.”

Stine knew pretty soon what it takes to be better. She became a much better player with a lot of talent. “As I said, Maren went to the United States, so I wanted to do the same thing. Besides, basketball is not a big sport in Norway, so if I wanted to get better, I had to make a move to somewhere else. College is a great way to get a free education. At that time, I played on a pretty high level. The players are more skilled, more athletic and much stronger. It was pretty hard in the beginning to get used to that. It was a challenge I would say, because you have to learn every play, meet the team and get better every day.”

Strong season with Ulriken Eagles

During last season, Ulriken Eagles was one of the teams who could have win the championship. The team didn’t lose a game until the play-offs. “Me and my sister were one of the oldest players, all the other players were pretty young but talented. They did really good in Europe before covid broke out. We ended up going undefeated during the regular season: 21-0. In the play-offs we won the quarter finals and the semifinals, but we lost against Baerum Basket in the finals with 63-59. We also played in the EuroCup against Liège Panthers, so that was pretty cool. We are the first team in Norway who played EuroCup in 40 years. Overall, we had a great season but we didn’t end it the way that we wanted to.”

Being a Norwegian international

Stine played with the national under 18 team and under 20 team. She can remember her first time as an international. “During that tournament in 2009, I played with Maren in the team. She was one of the best scorers with an average of 10 points per game. I was one of the youngest players back then, so I didn’t play much at all. Nevertheless, it was a fun experience, just to see how good all the other countries are. By being a part of that, I started to be a better player.”

“You should always measure you level of skills against the best players”

During all the other youth championships, Stine had a nice average of 20 points per game. She knows what it takes to get better. “It is not a surprise that playing as an international is from another high level than playing in the national league of Norway. When I was younger, it wasn’t quite a big challenge to play in Norway. There are a lot of better players all over Europe, so the biggest challenge is how to get better like them. It made me realize to work harder and get better, so you should always measure you level of skills against the best players.”

Photo: FIBA Europe

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