Host Dinos stun No. 1 Cougars

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QUARTER-FINAL #4: CIS women’s basketball championship

CALGARY (ISN) – With a partisan crowd roaring in full force behind them, the eighth-seeded, hometown Dinos never trailed en route to a shocking 75-66 upset of the No. 1-seeded Regina Cougars Saturday night in the last quarter-final of the CIS women’s basketball championship at the University of Calgary’s Jack Simpson Gymnasium.

Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wbkb/index 

The win vaults Calgary into the semifinal Sunday night at 7 p.m. MT against the defending national champion and fourth-seeded Windsor Lancers. In the earlier semifinal at 5 p.m., No. 2 UBC faces No. 3 Ottawa for a trip to Monday night’s final.

Shaw TV and NBA TV Canada will carry both Sunday semifinals live from the Jack Simpson Gym, and SSNCanada.ca will provide live streaming.

Regina, which suffered just its second loss after an undefeated regular season, takes on AUS champion Acadia in the second consolation semifinal Sunday afternoon. Saskatchewan faces McGill in the first game Sunday.

“Our fans made this possible,” an exuberant Calgary forward Jessica Franz of Surrey, B.C. said after the game. “When we came down, when we had our slumps, they consistently brought us back.

“I am so proud of our team right now,” the fourth year Dino continued. “We never got down on each other, never got frustrated, never got sad, and we just beat the number one seed.”

Calgary joins a list of four eighth seeded teams to knock off the top seed at the CIS Final 8 in the past seven years. UNB beat Saskatchewan in 2006 (73-58), Dalhousie ousted UBC in 2007 (88-77) and Laval stunned Simon Fraser in 2008 (71-68).

Franz was the catalyst for Calgary in the game with her high-energy style of play a perfect fit for a game on that stage in front of a home crowd. Franz had 20 points and 11 rebounds in the game, rallying the crowd into frenzy on her double-double clinching tenth board as she enthusiastically motioned for them to cheer.

Sackville, N.B. native Jenna Kaye was spectacular all evening for Calgary, scoring 23 points while quarterbacking the Dinos offence. The five years of CIS basketball on her resume showed in the waning moments as she hit on four of four free throws to ice the game for the Dinos.

The Dinos led by as many as 22 in the game – a difference they owned late in the third quarter.

The Cougars, however, would not concede defeat, chipping away at the deficit slowly but surely into the final minutes. Regina got it to within five points on a Michelle Clark jump shot with 28 seconds to go, but the cool and collected Kaye wasn’t fazed by the desperation fouls at the end of the match.

Regina was led by first team All-Canadian Joanna Zalesiak, who creeped up on a triple double with 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Megan Chamberlin was excellent as well for Regina, earning 14 points on seven for eight shooting.

Cougars head coach Dave Taylor gave full credit to the Calgary crowd.

“The crowd certainly played a factor, it was tough for us to run any sort of offence,” said the 2012 CIS Coach of the Year. “I’ve been to 11 of these (CIS Final 8s), and this is exactly what happens with the home crowd – Calgary was jacked up and they did a great job shooting the ball and making things difficult for us.”

Calgary shot 53 per cent in the first half and shot an excellent 12 for 13 from the free throw line as a team, while Regina struggled for most of the game, shooting only 36 per cent on the night including a paltry 4 for 17 from three point land.

The Dinos grabbed eight fewer offensive rebounds in the game than their counterparts, but it seemed that each of the 10 that Calgary did manage came at tremendously opportune times. After two big three point shots from Regina in the fourth quarter to bring the game within six, Tamara Jarrett corralled a missed Kaye jump shot amongst Regina’s bigs and converted the extra opportunity to squash any Regina momentum.

Calgary head coach Shawnee Harle commented on the terrific win for the Dinos program.

“That game was really hard, it was a very hard game to win,” said Harle. “For your players to step up in the biggest stage that they’ve ever been on in their entire career, and to come out the way they came out, I just couldn’t be more happy for them.

“You cannot put a price on the kind of heart and the kind of fight they came out with tonight. This is really, really special.”

STAT LEADERS

Boxscore: Calgary-Regina

Scoring by quarter:

CGY 22-19-19-15: 75

REG 13-9-19-25: 66

Calgary

Points: Jenna Kaye (23), Jessica Franz (21), Tamara Jarrett (12)

Rebounds: Jessica Franz (11), Alex Cole (8)

Assists: Jessica Franz (4)

Player of the game: Jenna Kaye

Regina

Points: Joanna Zalesiak (14), Megan Chamberlin (14), Michelle Clark (11)

Rebounds: Lindsay Ledingham (8), Joanna Zalesiak (8)

Assists: Joanna Zalesiak (8)

Player of the game: Joanna Zalesiak

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