Cougars can’t break Huskies
The Cougars learned who the top dog in Canada West is the hard way.
Trailing the Saskatchewan Huskies by only two points heading into a home-and-home series against them last weekend, first place was up for grabs for one of these fierce rivals. When all was said and done, the Huskies swept Regina and clinched first place in the conference with a 20-2 record.
In Friday’s 67-66 loss at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport, the Cougars tried to mount a fourth-quarter comeback. The Huskies, who led by as much as 16 in the game, saw their lead diminish as Regina went on a 17-4 run in the fourth. However, the Huskies collected a key offensive rebound after a missed free throw late in the game to secure them the win. Danielle Schmidt and Lindsay Ledingham led the Cougars with 18 points, while Carly Graham nailed three three-pointers and scored 11 points and Joanna Zalesiak notched six points and five assists before fouling out in the fourth.
The Cougars had another failed comeback on Saturday, in a 100-87 loss. Saskatchewan led by 23 at halftime, but Regina managed to reduce the lead to six at one point in the third. They would not get any closer. Ledingham was fantastic for the Cougars, scoring 30 points. Zalesiak (23 points, eight assists) and Schmidt (11 points) also chipped in.
Regina dropped to 17-5 after the games, putting them third in the conference. With a playoff spot already secured, the Cougars will host the Manitoba Bisons (8-14) on Friday and Saturday in their final regular season games. Each game is at 6:15 p.m. at the CKHS.
Regina failed to improve its playoff position this past weekend, dropping both games of a Canada West home-and-home series against the Huskies.
Falling 104-76 on Friday at the CKHS, then 110-83 on Saturday in Saskatoon, the Cougars sit at 12-10 and are guaranteed no better or worse than sixth place in the conference. They have made the playoffs.
Regina never had a chance in Friday’s contest, falling behind by 32 points after two quarters. The Cougars got 14 points from Jeff Lukomski, while Kris Heshka had nine and Brendan Hebert tallied eight.
It was more of the same on Saturday for the Cougars, who fell behind early to the Huskies (18-4) and failed to fight back. Paul Gareau did all he could for Regina, pouring in 29 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Other key players for the Cougars were Marek Downarowicz (15 points) and Lukomski (13).
The Cougars finish off the regular season against Manitoba (9-13) at home on Friday and Saturday. Each game is at 8 p.m. at the CKHS.
Though they will not be competing in the playoffs, the Cougars still went out with a bang.
Regina swept the Lethbridge Pronghorns last weekend in a pair of Canada West road games.
The Cougars fell behind 3-1 on Friday, before coming back to top the Pronghorns 5-4. Rianne Wight, Nicole Hollingshead, Rae-Lynn Somogyi, Gina Campbell and Kelcie McCutcheon all scored for Regina, which received 21 saves from Lisa Urban.
Regina won 3-2 over Lethbridge (4-17-3) on Saturday largely thanks to Paige Wheeler’s two goals. Jacey Jones scored the short handed winning goal for the Cougars, while Morgan Cooper turned aside 25 shots.
The Cougars finished the season fifth in the conference at 9-13-2. The top four teams made the playoffs. Wight tied the U of R’s single-season goal record with 16.
It was an appropriate end to the season for the struggling Cougars.
After failing to pick up many wins all season, Regina did not win one set in a pair of Canada West games against Saskatchewan last weekend at the CKHS.
In Friday’s 20-25, 18-25, 21-25 loss, Jamie Wilkins led Regina with nine kills, while Lindsey Isaak had eight digs and Drew Smith put up five blocks. The next day, in a 24-26, 24-26, 22-25 loss, Isaak recorded 16 digs, the most by a U of R player in a three-set match. Wilkins had 11 kills, Smith had six blocks and Joel Colter had five.
At 2-16, the Cougars finished tied for last in the conference. A number of players for Regina achieved milestones this season. Isaak broke the U of R’s career digs per set average of 1.70, while Colter broke the U of R’s single-season total block record with 72.