Women’s Basketball: Drivin’ the lane to the playoffs

For anybody that missed it: basketball playoffs began last weekend.

The bitter battle between the University of Calgary Dinos and the University of Alberta Pandas Jan. 5-6 could be a taste of what we can look forward to in February.

The Dinos chomped the Pandas Friday night with a 73-69 win, but were robbed of the sweep when they lost the second game 72-57 to the ugly bears from the North.

The intensity and excitement of last weekend’s games against Calgary’s number one rival leaked into murmurs of what might be an electrifying first-round playoff match up.

“It’s always good games when we play them, both teams really want to win,” said starting post Michelle Willson, Calgary’s most consistent player over the weekend with 15 points in each game. “It’s a huge rivalry. We’re both very physical teams. I hope we meet them in the playoffs.”

Even quote-conscious Dinos coach Shawnee Harle couldn’t resist looking ahead to the division series.

“[Right now] we want to be the best team we can be when the playoffs come along,” said Harle, noting that the 1-11 University of Lethbridge Pronghorns will likely be the odd team out in the Central Division come playoff time.

The big story from the weekend series was Calgary’s control of the ball down low, particularly in their defensive end. Calgary out rebounded the U of A 57-39 in the defensive end over the weekend, and ended up out rebounding them 86-80 overall. Much of the credit can go to six-foot-tall forward Whitney Haswell, who grabbed 17 rebounds herself on Saturday night. Between Haswell and Willson alone, 37 balls were kept out of reach of aggressive U of A forwards over the weekend, which is probably a big reason why the fifth-ranked U of A could only take one win away from Calgary.

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