Duo of basketballers say au revoir

By the time we are done university, most of us are thrilled just to get the hell out. Some students, however, enjoy their experience here so much they wish it wouldn’t end. One reason students may actually like being here is to take part in the Dinos athletics program.

Tanya Hautala and Katherine Adams have both spent a full five years with the Dinos women’s basketball team and have made huge strides.

“The biggest thing the fifth-year players bring is leadership and maturity,” head coach Shawnee Harle explained. “They come in as 17-year-old rookies that are over their heads in every way shape or form and five years later, in many ways, they’re ready for the world.”

“It’s made me the person I am,” said Hautala of the Dinos program. “It’s changed my life, not just on the basketball court, but with life experiences as well.”

Hautala joined the Dinos from Chilliwack, B.C. where she excelled both athletically and academically.

“My favourite part of Tanya’s story is that no one recruited her because she was too small,” Harle reminisced of the five-foot-four guard. “She had one dimension: a spot up three-point shot. Now the results speak for themselves. By the end of five years she was the deadliest perimeter player in Canada West. She can kill you with her three-point shot, she can kill you off the dribble and she’s impossible to guard.”

With the Dinos, Hautala had her best season in her fourth year when she was the third-highest scorer in CW, averaging 18.7 points per game. This year, she scored a career-high 41 points in one game against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Feb. 25, 2006–the third consecutive year she held the Canada West seasonal record for most points in a single game. She has also led the Dinos in field goals, three-point field goals and free throws made for three straight years and in steals for the last two years.

“This year was probably the most fulfilling of my five,” Hautala commented. “It’s been the best group of girls.”

Hautala graduates with a kinesiology degree and hopes to get into personal training. She also wants to continue playing ball, hoping to play for a team when she travels to Australia in the fall.

Adams came to the Dinos after playing both basketball and volleyball at Sir Winston Churchill High School. She improved steadily over her five years, finishing up with her best season this year, which is the way she wanted it. She posted career highs in scoring and assists and a career low in turnovers.

Part of being a Dino is growing personally as well as athletically. Adams learned the values of teamwork, commitment and dedication during her years.

“It’s pretty much your life for five years,” she explained of being a Dino. “It affects you in so many ways. They’re your second family.”

Next year, Adams will be finishing up her science degree.

The ladies leave a huge hole in the team, but Harle is not worried. She feels Hautala and Adams’ leadership has worn off on the rest of the team.

“The two have set such great examples and taught teammates what it is to be great leaders,” Harle smiled. “And the team paid attention.”

Bring on the rookies

Hopefully the team has paid attention, as two recruits for next season have already been announced. Ashley Hill of Airdrie and Celeste Clark of Regina have both committed to the Dinos for the 2006-07 season.

Hill is quick up and down the court, gets great penetration and has a solid three-point shot. These traits will make her an essential part of the plug that will fill the scoring void that Hautala used to fill.

She scored almost 2,500 points as a starter with the Bert Church High School Chargers including 928 points this season.

Clark, at five-foot-11, will bring some height to the Dinos team. Harle is impressed with the well-rounded skill set Clark will bring to the team. After spending most of her high school days in Regina–and playing on Saskatchewan’s gold-medal-winning Canada Summer Games team in August, 2005–Clark attended Dr. E. P. Scarlett High School this year.

Although admittedly large losses, the Dinos lose just two players to eligibility and have a young talented squad who should continue to improve. This season, they won 19 of their last 24 games and were CW central division finalists.

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