By Scott Lepp
Tuesday marked the last practice of the season for the Dinos as they prepared for the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union Championships hosted by the University of Alberta. The practice was filled with energy because the girls are pumped and ready for Nationals. As the team practiced their half-court offense, an entry pass from the perimeter made its way to Leighann Doan for a lay-up. This was followed by the voice of an ecstatic coach Harle, "Ohhhh, that’s so good!"
The Dinos are playing their best ball of the season and they are backing their play with the confidence they can do more. Third-year point guard Natalie Hudec promised a two-game sweep of the Victoria Vikings, the reigning National Champions. The team backed up Hudec’s comments and beat the Vikings in two straight by scores of 70-66 and 59-54 March 1-2 in Victoria.
The Dinos were led by the stellar performance of the always-amazing Doan who posted back-to-back double-doubles. She finished the weekend with 46 points, 28 rebounds, six assists and three steals; good enough for Canada West Player of the Week honours.
Helping Doan, Hudec propelled the Dinos through game one with great distribution of the ball, finishing with ten points and eight assists. She only comitted two turnovers during the course of the series.
"We knew it was going to be a battle," Doan commented with a slight grin on her face. "But we stuck to our game plan and relied on our defence."
The Dinos had a good reason to be excited about the series win. This is the first time since 1991 that the University of Calgary won the Canada West championship. It was also the first time a school other than Victoria claimed the title in six years.
Harle’s troops will be heading into Nationals as the third seed and will open play March 8 at 4 p.m. against Dalhousie whom they played and defeated earlier in the year. The semi-final and bronze-medal games will be broadcasted on The Score with the National Championship televised on TSN.
But the Dinos aren’t getting ahead of themselves.
"We expect to take one game at a time," Hudec remarked. "We feel very confident and everyone on the team trusts each other."
"We can’t look past [Dalhousie]," added Doan. "We’re just going to stay with our game plan and keep playing hard defence."
The Dinos are even more dangerous than last year, as they’re hitting their peak and combining their talent with deadly confidence.