Women’s basketball squad suffer at Holiday Hoops

By Lee Bogle and Sean Nyilassy

While the rest of the world was getting fat or drunk, the Dinos women’s basketball team made an early return to the Jack Simpson Gymnasium for the PrimeWest Energy Holiday Hoops tournament Dec. 29-31. While the Dinos failed to claim victory, they didn’t disappoint the scant home crowd with exciting games throughout the weekend.

Our ladies’ first match was against the University of British Colombia Thunderbirds, who we tamed earlier in the season. Like a game of PongĀ®, two of Canada’s basketball powerhouses battled back and forth with neither team holding onto a substantial lead. The score was tied at 36 at the break with rookie Whitney Haswell leading the Dinos with eight points.

“Considering she’s a rookie, she’s really stepping up,” Dinos Head Coach Shawnee Harle said of Haswell.

The second half saw Calgary come out strong, extending their lead to 50-43 with about 10 minutes on the clock. After that the Dinos got frisky with Jack Frost, earning them a cold spell that left the score tied at 58 with just a minute to go. Several key opportunities were missed in that final fateful minute and the buzzer put the T-Birds on top 62-60.

Tanya Hautala and Cory Bekkering were the Dinos’ major contributors with 16 and 12 tallies respectively.

“It was a good game with UBC,” Haswell said optimistically. “It was a successful weekend.”

On day two, our ladies met the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. Bitter about the disparity between our two institutions’s Macleans University rankings and the early Blues lead, the Dinos followed Bekkering’s guidance and jumped ahead 48-36 at the half. Bekkering had accumulated 54.17 per cent of the Dinos points. That’s 26 for the mathematically challenged.

The second half saw points from both the veteran Hautala and rookie Brianna Orr. The scoreboard screamed 90-83 at the game’s end with 31 points, 14 boards, three assists, three steals, 51 units of glory and Player of the Game honours going Bekkering’s way. Hautala played a metaphorically ballsy game, earning 26 points of her own.

The U of T team travelled home feeling blue, and are now dubbed the Varsity Black and Blues. Zing.

“I got a bit angry and went nutso,” said Bekkering of her incredible numbers.

Day three played out like a daytime soap opera, with lots of excitement but somewhat punishing to watch. The Dinos squared off against the St. Francis Xavier University X-Women. Both teams were cold, exemplified by an almost five minute scoring drought for both teams toward the end of the half. At the break the score was 27-17.

Seemingly happy with this lead, our ladies decided to rough their way to the win, receiving eight fouls while scoring just seven points in the first seven minutes of the second. Perhaps too focused on their New Year’s Eve plans, the Dinos let their lead dwindle to 47-46 with 34 seconds left. After strategically winding the shot clock down, but unfortunately missing a key shot, the Dinos fouled the wrong X-Woman with just 0.1 seconds on the clock. The resulting two shots won the game for the opposition and that X-Woman turned out to be quite some superhero.

“I was frustrated with the 39 minutes before that,” Harle explained of the last second loss. “We dug our own grave.”

Hautala drained 17 points; Haswell was close behind with 14 points and seven rebounds. Hautala and Bekkering were both named to the tournament All-Star team.

“We were a bit rusty,” Hautala admitted. “We needed a little time to work off the turkey I guess!”

“[The tournament] was a chance to play some games before the regular season,” Bekkering explained.

Thus, the tournament is over and the Dinos finished with a disappointing 1-2 record. The Simon Fraser University Clan and UBC both ended up with 3-0 records, with the Clan taking home the gold courtesy of a better point differential.

“I kinda hope they got a kick in the pants,” Harle said of her team’s experience in the tournament. “I hope it made them hungry and ready to fight their butts off the next five weeks.”

Only time will tell. Stay tuned.