It's worth looking at the playoff picture for some of these teams now...after this weekend, only four games remain for most western teams.
1. Saskatchewan (#3 in the coaches' poll): Matchup of the week is definitely their two-gamer at home against the Pandas. The first one went the Huskies' way: only by eight, but they were 11 of 22 from the line. Alicia Wilson picked up 10 and 7 in just over half a game.
Rematch was Saturday and their first half wasn't pretty. 14 points in 20 minutes? They lost for the first time at home this year, 60-57. The Huskies came back to within a basket with five minutes left, but couldn't tie it up. Tough loss.
2. Windsor (#2): Against Western on Wednesday, Iva Peklovà picked up 16 points on just 11 shots and, in some way, made up for the three shots she missed with three offensive boards. The Lancers' route to the playoffs is probably set, but they're not going to coast completely from here with two in Thunder Bay and one against McMaster still to come. Beat Brock on Saturday, 75-54, with Dranadia Roc (15 points) and Raelyn Prince (13 in 18 minutes, plus 5 boards) pacing the Lancers.
3. Simon Fraser (#1): They may technically be third in RPI, but the difference between them and the U of S is practically nothing and the Saskatchewan Huskies, Lancers, and Clan have been trading the top three spots for most of the year. Whatever rank you assign to them, SFU's Friday game at Calgary was streamed live on NUTV, allowing some of us here in Upper Canada a rare chance to watch the Clan in action. (And a rare chance to hear a school band in the stands; note to every other school without a group of undergrads blasting away on brass: correct that deficiency now.)
It could have been because of the lopsided score at that point (86-52 final), but it certainly seemed like Calgary didn't have the ability to stop anyone in the paint, or work their way past the three-point line. Kate Hole's physical dominance paced the Clan--it seemed like she had no D to contend with at all en route to her 20 points. It's certainly easy to see why SFU averages 80 per game. Carly Graham could have hit a three-ball from Cochrane on Friday, Hole's wingspan is ridiculously large, and double-teaming anyone doesn't work, because they can kick it out better than most.
The Clan played #25 Lethbridge on Saturday, possibly clinching first place in the process. Laurelle Weigl had 21 in 20 minutes.
4. Victoria (#6): Never gave up the lead in their first game against last-place TRU. Kayla Dykstra looks like she did her usual: 6-of-8 for 13 in a 71-57 win. Vanessa Forstbauer added 17. This game isn't on the CIS site but it somehow happened anyway. Second game against Thompson Rivers was closer, in fact tied after three, but a 24-point fourth put it away for the Vikes. 25 this time for Dykstra, who hit 11 of 13 and added 11 rebounds. Too bad she missed nine free throws, otherwise she could have topped 30.
5. Alberta (#5): Kristin Jarock and Anneka Bakker led the Pandas in a losing cause against Saskatchewan on Friday, then the Pandas won on Saturday (see above). Looks like they're playing Calgary in the Group of Death playoffs regardless of the next couple of weeks.
6. Memorial (#7): First game against UNB featured a 25-5 fourth quarter that brought the Sea-Hawks from down by nine to win by eleven. Familiar accomplishments from Victoria Thistle: 9 of 13 for 21. Game two is Sunday afternoon.
Incidentally, if there's a reason to keep this 2-point, 4-point system in the AUS--other than to mess with our minds by having Memorial, a 9-1 team at one point, behind an 8-3 team and ahead of another 8-3 team--I'd love to hear it.
7. Regina (#4): Unless my math is totally off, 996 plus Chelsea Cassano's 11 from Friday night tops 1000, so congratulations to her on the round number. However, as any varsity athlete will tell you, all that matters is winning, which the Cougars did. 12 of Brittany Read's 20 came from the line and the Wesmen lost by 9--you think the Winnipeg coach won't be talking about fouls at the next morning practice? Another Regina-Winnipeg game went Saturday. Cassano played only 15 minutes: injury? Even though Regina won by 24, they were only up by eight at the half.
8. Dalhousie (#11): Like Memorial, they had two games scheduled a low-ranked school named after a province and like Memorial, they won the first one. It's a copout to say "there isn't much to say" but there isn't much to say.
t-9. Toronto (NR): Chasing Carleton for first in the OUA East, the Blues had a favourable draw this weekend: first, Laurentian. Some useless trivia from that game: U of T got 30 foul shots off 25 fouls; their opponents, just 18 from 21. Alaine Hutton sank all 12 of hers, and a few others to net 28. Nicki Schutz added 24 of her own, leaving just 17 points for the rest of the roster. (I knew the University of Toronto was competitive, but that's a little much.) Still, though, they only won by 9 and then came York, a seven-point win. That one was helped along by the Lions, who would have had trouble sinking the Edmund Fitzgerald (2 of 17 from long range).
t-9. Laval (NR): No games scheduled. Can somebody introduce hoops to the fine folks at Sherbrooke or UdeM?
Winnipeg (23rd in RPI), Calgary (14), and Western (16) are the other members of the coaches' top 10. The Wesmen have faced the weakest schedule in the country, so I'm not surprised they come in much lower in the RPI than they do in the poll. Calgary's first game is sort-of-recapped above: it wasn't pretty. Western lost to Laurier, of all teams, on Saturday.
Finally, Lakehead isn't in any top 10, but they lost unexpectedly to the Warriors on Saturday. What's more unexpected (or not, depending) is that the boxscore has someone from the men's team playing nine minutes for the Warriors. This also happened in Friday's game, and the game before, and the game before... I don't know how that doesn't get noticed and corrected immediately, but I do know that you can all look forward to another post on misspelled names at the end of this school year. Trust me: it's going to be a gong show.