Endeavour Ipswich Basketball Club and IBA Copleston star Olivia Forster has verbally committed to the University of South Carolina Upstate in NCAA Division One. The class of 2024 guard has been recruited by a number of D1 and D2 schools and has chosen USC Upstate after a lengthy recruitment process.
The GB U18 guard was named to the WEABL South Conference First Team in both of her two full seasons so far playing in the Academy Leagues and was MVP of the 2023 U18 National Championship winning game for Ipswich.
Upstate play in the Big South Conference of NCAA Division One
The 5’6 sharpshooter has exploded onto the British Basketball scene since her move to Ipswich in 2021, having established herself as one of the most exciting players in the Under 18 age groups, WEABL and WNBL. She was a key contributor on the Ipswich team that won the U18 National League and Cup double in 2023, while finishing second in WNBL Division One in scoring in 2022/2023, despite being just seventeen years old. Forster was also the leading scorer (11.3ppg) for the GB U18 women at last summer’s European Championships in Bulgaria.
Liv becomes the fifth D1 player to come out of the Ipswich girls/women’s programme in the last three years, joining Esther Little (Gonzaga), Susannah Rafiu (Columbia), Anya Mackenzie (Tarleton State) and Christabel Osarobo (Gonzaga). Ipswich have also had several other players recruited to College in the States in recent years, including Freya Cooney (Franklin Pierce), Ashleigh Pink (Barry), Maya Price (Eckerd), Ella Pearson (Newberry) and Milly Pearson (Eastern Arizona).
Liv is halfway through her third year at Ipswich Basketball Academy (IBA) based at Copleston High School & Sixth Form, one of the leading academies as part of the England Development Programme (EDP). Prior to joining Ipswich, Liv was a key member of the Manchester Mystics junior programme – leading her club to the 2019 U14 National Championship, winning MVP – ironically against Ipswich! During her time with the Suffolk based programme, she has helped Ipswich to two U18 Final Fours appearances (2022 & 2023), two National Cup Finals (2022 & 2023) two WEABL Final Fours (2022 & 2023), the U18 Playoff and National Cup double (2023) while emerging as a leader for the Ipswich Senior Women in WNBL Division One.
In her third and final season in Ipswich, she is again shining, currently sitting second in WNBL Division One in scoring (19.5), 3rd in assists (4.6) and 3rd in steals 3.9, with the team enjoying a successful season so far (15-2 in all competitions).
Endeavour Ipswich Basketball Club Head Coach Nick Drane said “What an incredible opportunity this is for Liv, and if anyone deserves this, she does. In many ways, Liv has become one of the faces of Ipswich Basketball over the last few years, and she has the personality, talent and character to lead a programme. Liv is one of the best players I have ever had the pleasure of coaching and I will miss working with her on a daily basis massively. It’s a cliché I know, but she’s a great player but a better person. As brilliant as she has been on the court, I think her impact away from the court as been as big, if not bigger. She volunteers as a coach with our junior teams and is a model student at Copleston. She has made us all better during her time with us and I am incredibly proud of her. Coach Williams and his staff have got one heck of a recruit”. Drane added “It would be wrong to not mention the Manchester programme and their part in this journey, as well as all of the other coaches that worked with Liv before she came to Ipswich. They did not stand in the way of Liv deciding to move on and that says a lot about the great people working at their club”.
On signing for USC Upstate Olivia had this to say “I am so excited to begin the next chapter of my life, it has been my goal and dream since I started playing basketball to play in the states which is now a reality. USC Upstate are an amazing programme with great coaches, players, and people which for me was the most important thing. This opportunity is not just about basketball it is about who I will spend four years of my young adulthood with, and I believe I have made the perfect choice.’’
Liv will play the remainder of the season for Copleston in the WEABL and Endeavour Ipswich Basketball in WNBL Division One before embarking on the next stage of her basketball adventure.
A message from Liv:
I would not have been given the opportunities in my life without my parents and family, they have watched every game, provided whatever was necessary, drove me across the whole country, flown to different countries just to watch me play. They are my number 1 supporters, and I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for me. I know that this decision is not just a big moment for me, but also for them. My parents have always been my rock and only cared about my happiness, to grow up with such strong role models who always put everyone else before themselves is a privilege. I aspire to be like my mum who is strong, confident, selfless and so loving to everyone she meets. She has taught me to kill people with kindness and be the passionate, outgoing person I am on and off the court. If I grow up to be like her then I know I have succeeded. My dad is my hero, throughout my ups and downs he always helped me believe everything would be ok, he has never once doubted me or my character and has the biggest warmest heart. He has taught me resilience and that happiness in life should be valued, whenever he calls it always brightens up my day. Lastly my big brother, I truly believe that no one loves or believes in me more than he does, and I know that no matter what I do he will always be proud of me. But what he doesn’t know is that I have looked up to him my whole childhood and wouldn’t be playing basketball without him. I am so proud of the man he has become and will be forever grateful to him because he has helped me find my passion in life.
Next, I would like to talk about Ipswich basketball, it has been my home for the past three years and the people in and around the club have always made it home. The best way to describe this club is a family, parents have treated me like their own and I have made life-long friends in my teammates, but the core part of Ipswich basketball is Nick Drane. For the past few years this man has been a father figure to me alongside being my coach, he has led me to not only become an improved player but a better person. His door has always been open and the relationship he has with me, and all my other teammates is so special. Nick Drane is the most hard working, caring, loving coach I have ever had the pleasure of working with. There is a balance of passion, talent and competitiveness with nurturing, teaching and listening. I would not be the player I am today without him; he has taught me so many lessons however the biggest thing I have been taught is leadership and self-belief. I am very grateful for Nick and everything he has helped me become and achieve to take this next step, I will always be part of the Ipswich basketball family.
Lastly, I would also like to thank Mystics/Magic basketball club I started my journey here and was developed for four years in their junior programme. It has become one of the most successful clubs and I am proud to have come from Manchester. Coaches like Jim Carnegie, Natalie Feurtado and Joe Forber are the soul of this club and helped me to where I am today, for which I will always be so grateful for. I am so excited for my future at USC Upstate, this has been a goal and dream that I have worked towards since age 13 and it is now a reality.