Basketball ladies in need of a savior

By Sean Nyilassy

In Canada West’s women’s basketball central division, such wonderful cities as Saskatoon, Lethbridge, Edmonton and Calgary are included. Although one might like to think Calgary should come out on top of any list containing these cities, in the topsy-turvy world of basketball, anything goes.

The Dinos women’s basketball team traveled to a flatter province to take on the central division’s top-ranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies Feb. 11-12. A pair of wins would have put the Dinos at par with the Huskies’ record–and possibly given them a first-round bye in CW playoffs–but the crazy lady with the tarot cards messed with their fate.

The Dinos started Saturday’s game with a bang. They pulled the trigger, jump-starting a 10-point lead early in the game. Unfortunately, that initial bang was the Dinos’ climax for the evening. As the noise stopped echoing throughout the U of S gymnasium, all that emerged from their gun was one of those little flags that reads: “Bang!”

As the game unfurled, the Huskies turned the world on its head. They took a lead with just over 11 minutes to play in the opening half and were up by as many as 13 points before closing out the half up 51-41.

While the Dinos fought valiantly for the remainder of the game, the deficit was too much to overcome. The Huskie women managed a 99-90 win.

“Usually 90 points is enough to beat anybody,” explained Dinos head coach Shawnee Harle. “But we were unable to find an answer on D.”

Lindsay Maundrell led the Dinos’ offense, hitting 22 points before fouling out of the aggressive game. Courtney Coyle added 17 points, hitting four three-pointers and shooting 60 per cent from the field. Whitney Haswell had 13 points, draining six of seven from the field. Katherine Adams and Michelle Willson each had 11 points in the near-win.

“It was basically a scoring contest,” Maundrell summarized. “Sunday’s game was totally opposite. We played better defense but couldn’t score.”

Sunday’s game was a different story all together. The points came much slower on both sides. At the half, the Huskie women had again accumulated a 10-point lead at 37-27. They continued to widen the gap for the remainder of the game, making the final score a disappointing 73-56.

“We shot 32 per cent. That didn’t help,” lamented Harle. “We didn’t play tough enough to be able to scrap out the win.”

Willson led the Dinos’ charge with 13 points and seven rebounds. Tanya Hautala was the only other Dino in double digits with 12 points. Along with shooting 32.8 per cent from the floor, the Dinos were just 8.3 per cent from beyond the arc.

“We focussed on shutting down Sarah [Crooks] and Ashley [Dutchak],” Haswell explained of the lower scores on Sunday.

The Dinos jump into the playoffs Feb. 17-19 with a best-of-three series against the University of Alberta Pandas. While having home-court advantage is a welcome circumstance, Harle knows how challenging the Pandas can be.

“They don’t like us,” she happily admitted of the Pandas, “and seem to play their best ball against us. I expect it to be a battle, but at the end of the day, I believe we are the better team.”

Friday and Saturday’s games start at 7 p.m. in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium. Sunday’s game, if necessary, will begin at 2 p.m. The Dinos record against the Pandas this season is 3-1. The winner of the series moves on to meet the Huskies in the CW semi-finals Feb. 24-26. Harle knows her team is capable of beating the Huskies, but it will take some work.

“We have to be consistent for 40 minutes. We have to be tough for 40 minutes. We have to be hungry for 40 minutes,” she explained. “It’s the same formula against Alberta.”

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