Disappointing loss leads into hope-filled summer
This past weekend saw an end to the Cougars women’s basketball team, despite a great comeback attempt.
The girl’s went up against the powerhouse basketball program of UBC, and while they got soundly defeated in game one, 75-59, they had a much better game two, despite the loss. After going down by 12 at the end of the third quarter, they managed to claw their way back into the game, but only got as close as five points, losing 68-63. This marked the end of their season, losing 2-0 in the series. The Cougars had gotten to this point after they swept Fraser Valley in a previous playoff matchup.
Alyssia Kataji led the way for the Cougars with 16 points and 10 rebounds, well above her season average of 13 point and 7.6 rebounds. Teammates Katie Polischuk, Jennilea Coppola and Kehlsie Crone all added another 12 points, while Charlotte Kot put in 11 points to round out their score for the evening. The Cougars bench did not score in the game. 20 total turnovers were probably the death of the Cougars, as they could not take care of the ball, despite their solid shooting from the field. Thunderbirds forward Harleen Sidhu led the way for her team with 21 points and eight rebounds.
While it was definitely a difficult loss for the Cougars to handle, their season should not be looked at as a failure, as they overcame a lot of turnover from their last team, and still managed to win a playoff series, and stay competitive with one of the best teams in the CIS, in their second series. Achieving this success with a very young team is definitely success that the Cougars can build off of in the future.
Looking ahead to the future of Cougars basketball, things are definitely looking bright, as they only have guard Taylor Pelletier moving on from the team. With their entire starting lineup returning for another go at things, there should be a lot of optimism over the summer. With young players like Britton Belyk and Christina McCusker getting another summer of development, and redshirt guard Sidney Dobner looking to get back into the swing of things after recovering from her injury suffered last season.
One of the problems the Cougars suffered from this year is the change that they experienced. Last season the Cougars lost fifth-year seniors Megan Chamberlain and Nicole Clarke, along with starter Madi Docherty, and Canada West All-Rookie team member Janine Guijt. With almost all the team, and all starters coming back, the summer should be significantly less turbulent for the team and coach Dave Taylor.
With their win, the Thunderbirds will be moving on to the Canada West Final Four, along with the Universities of Saskatchewan, Victoria and Alberta. After that, the winner of the Canada West Final Four will represent the conference at the CIS Championships, which will be taking place at Universite Laval from March 12-15. One more team from Canada West will also participate, with the possibility of another team making it in as the final at-large team.