Home opener a big test for rebuilding Vikes squad


Andy Watson

VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team sees a very wide difference in opponents this weekend, their home openers in the 2011 Canada West season.


On Friday night, the Vikes host the No. 1 Regina Cougars (1-0) at 6 p.m. at McKinnon Gymnasium. While the Vikes split their opening weekend with Trinity Western to start the season at 1-1, Regina defeated Saskatchewan 79-68 in the season opener for both teams last weekend.

In the preseason, the Cougars had an impressive 84-61 win over the defending CIS champion Windsor Lancers and also defeated Manitoba, Winnipeg, Lakehead, Concordia (twice), Carleton, McGill, Cape Breton and Calgary. The only pre-season blemish was an 65-56 loss to Brock, putting up a 10-1 record in the non-conference schedule.

Regina boasts a strong lineup with Joanna Zalesiak of Poland and Purdue transfer MIchelle Clark of California combining for 41 points in their season opener. Danielle Schmidt and Lindsay Ledingham provide offensive spark for a team that defeated the Vikes three times in the post-season in 2010-11 (twice in the best-of-three Canada West quarter-finals and once more in the 2010-11 CIS women’s national regional semifinal).

The Vikes go from playing the nation’s best to one of the rebuilding programs in the conference. On Saturday night at 5 p.m., the Vikes host the winless Brandon Bobcats, a team outscored badly in their first two league games – 85-27 and 90-22 – against the Calgary Dinos.

UVic is led this season by fourth-year guard Debbie Yeboah who averages 16 points per game and three other players averaging 10 or more points per game in Cassandra Goodis, Chelsea McMullen and Jessica Renfrew. Rookie Shaylyn Crisp and forward Sarah Semeniuk have also had strong starts to the season.

CIS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TOP 10 RANKINGS (as of Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011)

(regular season record) / votes (first-place votes) / (previous rankings)

1. Regina (1-0) / 443 pts (36) / (1)?

2. Windsor (0-0) / 408 (1) / (2)?

3. Carleton (0-0) / 370 / (3)?

4. Saskatchewan (0-1) / 325 / (4)?

5. UBC (0-0) / 302 / (5)

6. Cape Breton (0-0) / 260 / (6)?

7. Acadia (0-0) / 215 / (7)

8. Alberta (2-0) / 192 / (8)

9. Ottawa (0-0) / 135 / (10)

10. Toronto (0-0) / 83 / (NR)?

Other teams receiving votes: Fraser Valley (46), Thompson Rivers (37), Brock (18), Western (16), StFX (13).

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