No teams clinched a playoff spot this week, but the playoff races got a little more interesting with a double-upset at Kamloops' Tournament Capital Centre this weekend. UFV, Calgary and TRU are now fighting for the final spot, while three teams have a realistic shot at the number one overall seed going into the playoffs and six teams still have a shot at home court.
Alberta Pandas @ Saskatchewan Huskies
The Saskatchewan Huskies maintained their #1 spot in the nation with a pair of wins over the injury-riddled Huskies. They have now won 16 straight games and are in good position to secure home court in the Canada West tournament. Kim Tulloch, the league's leading scorer, put up 28 in the 82-70 Friday win while Katie Miyazaki had 8 assists and 12 points with 4 steals for a very impressive stat-line. Despite being out-rebounded 37-28, Saskatchewan put up 61 shots to Alberta's 57, thanks in large part to better ball possession.
On Saturday, Jill Humbert let the way with 26 while Tulloch was no slouch putting up 17 in a 73-52 win. Sally Hillier had 16 for Alberta as they continue to struggle with a short roster at the worst part in the season to be hurt. Alberta made just 14 field goals on Saturday, and turned the ball over 30 times.
Victoria Vikes @ TRU WolfPack
The WolfPack managed not one, but two home upsets against the Victoria Vikes. Credit Jorri Duxbury for providing a solid replacement to Kaitlyn Widsten after she went down against Calgary with a knee injury. The Friday game was much closer, a 62-59 game, with a couple of lead changes in the final few minutes before Diane Schuetze sealed the deal with a couple of late free throws. TRU out-rebounded Victoria 101-87 through the weekend, and while that shouldn't come as a surprise as a better rebounding team, it showed just how much the WolfPack wanted this series.
The 'Pack held Debbie Yeboah to just 14 points throughout the weekend and she went 6-for-30 from the field. Kayla Forsyth shot well for TRU in their 54-44 win Saturday night, particularly from deep range, hitting a weekend high 18 points and going 4-for-6 from beyond the arc.
TRU move ahead of UFV for the final playoff spot, although the Cascades have a couple of games in hand.
UFV Cascades @ Winnipeg Wesmen
The Cascades have now lost five straight after falling 79-70 in an overtime affair and 75-47 to Winnipeg on consecutive nights. Caitlin Gooch put up a stunning 29 points playing all 40 minutes of floor time on Friday, shooting 7-for-16 from the field. The Friday game was decidedly closer as UFV's scoring depth was again a factor, with four players registering in double figures, unfortunately, they also saw two players foul out, and the Wesmen were sent to the line 36 times, sinking 29 of those shots, which was the difference in the game. Winnipeg outscored UFV 12-3 in the extra frame.
Saturday was a different story. It was Amy Ogidan who put up 24 for the Wesmen, while Stephanie Kleysen put up 6 offensive and 6 defensive boards for the game-high. Gooch had another strong stat-line with 11 points, 6 assists, and 3 steals before being taken out in the third quarter and out of the game during garbage time. Every Wesman (Weswoman?) player got into the game.
Regina Cougars @ UBC Thunderbirds
#5 Regina stayed even with Saskatchewan with a pair of wins over UBC on the road, which nearly takes UBC out of the running for a home playoff series. In an 85-54 blowout on Friday in front of a crowd of over 1100 at UBC's War Memorial Gym, Joanna Zalesiak scored 22 points and had 5 assists and 2 blocks for the Cougars while teammate Gabrielle Gheyssen stuck 6-of-7 from 3-point range. Despite a 19-point, 12-board performance from Zara Huntley, UBC were significantly outmached, being outshot 49% to 28%.
On Saturday, the score was closer, but the result stayed the same. Regina won 75-69, with 17 from Carly Graham and Zalesiak, who also put up 9 rebounds in 37 minutes of play. UBC shot marginally better, but Regina controlled the paint, out-rebounding the Thunderbirds off their own glass 35-14 and were sent to the line 25 times to 14.
Manitoba Bisons @ Calgary Dinos
In the final games with playoff implications, Calgary won a pair of high-scoring games 93-79 on Friday and a close 77-75 Saturday game. Ashley Hill put up 38 and 34-point games, going 12-for-20 from beyond the three point line through the weekend in an incredible performance to keep her team safely in playoff position as they finish off their schedule with difficult games against Alberta and Saskatchewan to finish the season.
Next week the Saskatchewan/Regina home-and-home is undoubtedly the series to watch, as a sweep either way will give the winning team the upper edge into home court for the Canada West Final Four tournament. The first game is in Regina starting at 6:15 and will be streamed live via the University of Regina website, as most schools are wont to do.