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‘Pressure is power’

U of R women’s basketball team maintains perfect record

Autumn McDowell
Sports Editor

According to the latest Nike commercial, “Pressure is power.” The University of Regina women’s basketball team seems to be adhering to that slogan.

Coming into the 2011-12 season, the women’s basketball team was ranked No. 1 in the nation. With star players such as Lindsay Ledingham, Joanna Zalesiak, and Brittany Read set to return to the court the Cougars had everyone’s attention right from the beginning.

Thirteen games into the season, the Cougars have met everyone’s expectations – and then some. The Cougars are currently undefeated. Moreover, they set a school record on Jan. 20, as their 78-61 win over the Fraser Valley Cascades pushed their record to 12-0: the best start in the program’s history.

With an undefeated record, there isn’t a whole lot for head coach Dave Taylor to complain about. He admitted he has been happy with the way his team has been playing.

“Yeah, obviously [I’m happy],” he said. “Being ranked No. 1, there is obviously stuff that we can work on, but we are happy with where we are certainly.”

While Zalesiak and Ledingham have been forces on the court each and every night for the Cougars, Taylor is quick to point out that rookies Madi Docherty and Alyssia Kajati have also pitched in whenever they got the call to action.

“Both rookies have done very well,” Taylor said. “Madi Docherty and Alyssia Kajati have both done what we have expected. They are not going to play tons on our team but they have come in and played well when they have had opportunities.”

The idea that the women’s basketball team will have a legitimate shot at an undefeated season has almost all fans excited. And while the goose egg on its record would be nice to keep, the team feels no added pressure to keep it there.

“[There’s] not pressure to stay undefeated,” Taylor said. “But we have pressure because of our expectations.”

In order for the team to continue its success down the stretch, Taylor doesn’t feel that his best players have to be his best players or that he needs constant contribution from players off the bench; he just wants his players to fulfill their roles.

“To be successful you need your players to do their roles, so we need our scorers to score, our defenders to defend, everybody to do their role,” Taylor said.

Being undefeated during the regular season is one thing, but being named national champions in March is quite another. Although many fans feel like the championship is Regina’s to lose, Taylor isn’t so quick to jump to conclusions.

“It’s too early to tell,” he said. “We don’t worry about that, our concern right now is just to play well going in.”

“I have been to enough national championships to know that you have got to be healthy – that is a big one for us, because we haven’t been for a couple of years – and play well and get a little lucky.

“If we get all of those things, then we have an opportunity.”

The Cougars will look to make it 15-0 when they take on the Winnipeg Wesmen (8-6) at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport this weekend. Game time is slated for 6:15 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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