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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

October 30, 2012, VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team will begin their 2012-13 campaign with five fresh faces and a total of eight players in either their first or second year of play on Nov. 2-3 against UBC Okanagan.

Head coach Rich Chambers has passed over temporary duties to associate coach Dani Sinclair to attend to personal matters and the Vikes have also brought on former CIS champion Leanne Evans to help on the bench.

“We had few games before the season last year so we knew that was something we wanted to change this year,” said Sinclair about getting in nine pre-season games, seven of which were on the road. “Our away games were a good team building opportunity and we had a couple of good character wins on the road, in particular our over time win against Toronto.”

Sinclair will be leaning on her core of seniors shaped by fifth-years Debbie Yeboah (Winnipeg, MB) and former Camosun Charger Chelsea McMullen (Prince George, B.C.) Yeboah led the Vikes in scoring last year averaging 14.8 points per game and has continued trend that throughout the pre-season.

The Vikes will also be reliant on point guard Cassandra Goodis (Penticton, BC), who enters her third year of play. Goodis was a regular starter for the Vikes last season and led the team in assists with an average of 5.61 per game. Goodis is complimented well with forward Jessica Renfrew (Victoria, BC), whose five-foot-ten stature help under the boards.

Leading the way for the freshman class are forwards Jenna Bugiardini and Jessica Renfrew (Victoria, BC). Bugiardini, a recruit from Hamilton, Ont., has already found her way on to the starting five, while Rennie has shown double-digit scoring capabilities in the pre-season.

Also joining the Vikes are first-years Jenna Krug, Ashley McGinnis and Nicole Karstein, while returning players Jenny Lewis, Shalynyn Crisp, Allison Mulock and Jordyn Newman will be expected to play a stronger role on the court.

“The team played four games in four days during pre-season and were still going hard in game four,” said Sinclair about her Ontario pre-season tour. “We are happy with how hard the girls are playing and that is exactly what we wanted leading into the Canada West season.”

Last season the Vikes went 8-10 and were short of the playoffs but with only two players not returning to this year’s line up, the Vikes expect to be back on the court with a bit more knowledge and a bit more cohesion.

The Vikes will open their Canada West season with a double header against the UBC Okanagan Heat on Nov. 2 (8 p.m.) and Nov. 3 (7 p.m.) at McKinnon Gym. The game will be broadcast live at http://uvic.canadawest.tv