Dear Lord, all three unbeaten teams suffered losses this weekend; what shall we make of this mess?
In the must-watch matchup of the weekend, the number three in the nation Regina Cougars and number one Victoria Vikes each suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the other and split their series at home, but there is a good chance that a third game played between these two teams will happen come playoff time.
Regina took it to the Vikes in the Friday game of the series, taking a 14-point lead into the half and not looking back--they won 72-49. Team-leading scorer Joanna Zalesiak was 6-for-12 from the field including 3-for-3 from three-point territory and put up 15 in 36 minutes of play, with Cougar teammate Gabrielle Gheyssen potting 16. Conference leading scorer Kayla Dykstra got the double-double for the Vikes with 13 points and 10 boards, but the rest of her team couldn't put it together offensively, shooting just 28% from the floor and 22% in the second half.
In the Saturday half of the series, Victoria shook off their second half shooting woes and won 75-65 and avoided the home sweep. Despite trailing by seven points heading into the fourth quarter, the Vikes rallied behind Dykstra, who went 9-for-15 on the night while Jane Anholt nailed a couple of late threes to fuel the Vikes' comeback. Zalesiak got a 14-point, 10-board double-double for the Cougars in the losing effort.
Both teams will play against Alberta teams next weekend, with Regina hosting Calgary and Victoria visiting the U of A in a pretty crucial series for the Pandas. Both teams should expect to hold their national rankings.
The Alberta Pandas swept another team on the road, beating the Trinity Western Spartans in consecutive games to up their record to 7-1, now tied with Regina. They won 66-40 on Friday fueled by the efforts of fifth-year post (and, again, Kitsilano Blue Demon alumna) Marisa Haylett who had a game-high 16 to go along with 6 boards. It was the Pandas' depth that secured the victory in this one, as only two players on Trinity sunk more than one field goal: Corina Reimer and Tiffany Olsen. Olsen was a rebound away from the double-double.
On Saturday, the Spartans shot slightly better but still feel to a similar score, 63-48, in which Olsen managed just four points in 22 minutes. Haylett popped 12 for the Pandas, while Anneka Bakker had an interesting stat line of two blocks, 8 boards and seven points.
The Winnipeg Wesmen fell to earth as they finished off a tough portion of their schedule, swept on the road to the number five Saskatchewan Huskies and drop to 5-2. Saskatchewan, now 8-2, won 74-54 Friday night on a 20-point, 10-board performance from Katie Miyazaki, who's making a strong case for Conference Player of the Year early on; she's sixth in Canada West in both scoring and rebounding, fourth in assists and first in steals. Despite being out-rebounded, the Huskies held Winnipeg's top shooters to low percentage shots: Caitlin Gooch went just 3-for-9 and Amy Ogidan was 2-for-10.
Saturday was more of the same, with Saskatchewan roughing up the Wesmen, this time 90-62. This time it was Jill Humbert who led the Huskies with 20 points, five dimes and three steals in just 27 minutes of play. Up by 19 at the break, Sask coach Lisa Thomaidis was able to utilize her bench to play out the remainder of the game.
The Huskies have the rest of the calendar year off from conference play, returning to play on the road at Brandon in January. Winnipeg have redemption in sight, taking on lowly Trinity at home next weekend.
Finally, the TRU WolfPack swept the Lethbridge Pronghorns at home to increase their record to 7-3, although they still have tough opponents Victoria, Regina and Saskatchewan remaining on the schedule. The Brandon Bobcats suffered big losses, 89-50 and 99-43 against the Calgary Dinos and fall to 0-8 on the season. The UBC Thunderbirds won twice at War Memorial against the UFV Cascades, with Zara Huntley drawing a double-double in the Friday's 60-49 contest.