A look at the teams playing in the Atlantic University Sport women's basketball championship starting tonight at UPEI:
Saint Mary’s Huskies
Regular season record – 20-0 (first place). They are the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s (CIS) second-ranked team.
“It’s a nice accomplishment to have for sure, since no one has done that before. (The players have) remained focus all year and I think that’s why we’ve been successful, they’ve always focused on the next game and that’s what we’re trying to do for Saturday,” coach Scott Munro.
Leading scorers – Justine Colley (20.8), Rachelle Coward (18.8) and Laura Langille (11.4). Colley is the CIS all-time leading scorer at 2,376 in 99 games.
Keys to success – “Take it one game at a time, never looking past the next opponent and focus on those things that are going to be required to win that specific basketball game,” Munro said.
St. F.X. X-Women
Regular season record – 11-9 (second place).
Leading scorers – Vanessa Pickard (15.8), Lia St. Pierre (14.8) and Kolbi Roper (13.2).
Keys to success – “For us right now, it’s defence. I think defence wins championship is cliché, but we have really concentrated since Christmas on giving up less points per game,” said coach Augy Jones.
The team has dropped its points allowed per contest from 74 in 2012-13 to 63 this season. It is averaging 23 steals per game while mixing in zone presses and more man-to-man pressure.
“The good thing about defense is it creates offence. That’s what we have done down the second half of the season in order to improve.”
Key injury – The X-Women’s leading scorer Pickard has been out for the past month with her second concussion. She will not play this weekend.
Roper has averaged 16 points and nine rebounds in her last eight games and provided the team with balance to the offence.
Cape Breton Capers
Regular season record – 11-9 (third place).
Leading scorers – Alison Keough (16), Tanira McClurkin (12.9) and Colleen Keane (10.3).
Keys to success – “We’re facing the home team, so it’s going to be a very tough battle right off the bat. We’re going to have to combat the crowd and everything else. It’s perfect for a young team like us right now,” said coach Fabian McKenzie.
The team has only one player, McClurkin, who has played in the AUS playoffs.
“We’re not feeling a lot of pressure on us because we’re so young,” McKenzie said.
Regular season record – 9-11 (fourth place)
Leading scorers – Kelia Pond (10.7), Sandra Amoah (10.6) and Megan Robinson (8.4).
Keys to success – “For us it’s defence, defence, defence. We’re very young and our offence is very immature. For us its whether we can guard at the right level or not,” said coach Doug Partridge.
Interesting note – The Sea-Hawks quarter-final matchup with Dalhousie is a rematch of last year’s first-round game. Memorial, which was the fifth seed last year, defeated Dalhousie.
Regular season record – 10-10 (fifth place).
Leading scorers – Courtney Thompson (17), Tessa Stammberger (16.2) and Robbi Daley (8.8).
Keys to success – Coach Anna Stammberger is looking for consistency from her team.
“At times we played very well and at other times very unfocused and very poorly,” she said. “We’re looking to get it all put together for this weekend and to put a couple of great games together.”
The coach said the team needs rebounding and strong defence from all its players.
“We’re not a big team, so we need our guards rebounding.”
The team is relatively young with seven of the 13 players in their first season. Stammberger said her message to the players competing in their first AUS playoffs: defend and rebound.
“The basket is still the same height, it’s still the same ball and the court is the same size,” she said.
Regular season record – 9-11 (sixth place)
Leading scorers – Amy Gough (12.6), Danielle MacDonald (9.8) and Laura Power (7.6).
Keys to success – Coach Greg Gould said team rebounding is something they have been working on all season. The team, which lacks a big dominating post, needs to control the defensive boards and get to the offensive glass.
Team defence and limiting turnovers are also key.
“We’re a team that’s not about individuals, we’re a team that’s about the sum of the individuals,” Gould said. “We have to play as a cohesive five-person unit both on offence and defence. If we do that, I think, we should be in pretty good shape.”
Did you know? The Panthers had their 107 practice.