EDMONTON – When the 2012-13 Canada West basketball campaign begins on Thursday night, there will be two new teams on the schedule as the Mount Royal Cougars and UNBC Timberwolves join the conference. There will be a two-division system – Prairie and Pacific – and a 22-game schedule.   Here is a look at each team…


2011-12 conference record: 13-7 (4th, Prairie)

2012 playoffs: 0-2

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: 1999

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #4

Key additions: Maddie Rogers (G), Jessilyn Fairbanks (G), Kendall Lydon (G), Kendra Asleson (F)

Key returnees: Anneka Bakker (F), Katie Arbuthnot (G), Sally Hillier (G), Saskia Van Ginhoven (F)

Key departures: Nicole Clarke (G), Sarah Binns (G), Caitlin Stiksma (F)

EDMONTON – A revamped Alberta Pandas roster should be in the mix for a Canada West playoff spot during the 2012-13 season.

The Pandas enter the having lost Nicole Clarke, Sarah Binns, and Jill Verhesen at the guard position, as well as forward Caitlin Stiksma. Alberta will be looking to return to the playoffs for the seventh-straight season.

Albert does return Sally Hillier and Katie Arbuthnot at guard, as well as sophomore Renee Byrne, who made Canada’s Junior National team this summer, and Megan Wickstrom in the backcourt. Also returning to the Evergreen and Gold are forwards Saskia Van Ginhoven, fifth-year Anneka Bakker, Andria Carlyon, Kelly Lyons, Arianne Sakundiak, Megan Vande Kraats, while Kendra Asleson has rejoined the team after taking the 2011-12 season off.

Alberta’s inside game should be among the best in Canada West and will lean heavily on Bakker. The Ottawa native is in her final season and is one of key leaders on the team. She led Alberta in scoring in all three games and was named a tournament all-star at the UNB tournament.

The Pandas have added a trio of guards to their stable, each of whom could see playing time this season. First-year Maddie Rogers joins the Pandas from Calgary, while Kendall Lydon is originally from Washington State, but played her high-school ball in St. Albert, and second-year Jessilyn Fairbanks comes over to the Pandas after previously playing at Grant MacEwan.


2011-12 conference record: 0-20 (8th, Prairie)

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #16

Key additions: Ambrea McDonald-Okoro, Maegan MacKay, Elsa Langill, Carrera Lamoureux, Brittany Boudreau

Key returnees: Chantel Gaslard, Jaynell Gillett, Alanna Johnston, Aimee Johnston, Kaela Cranston, Stephanie Haynes, Sarah Dobie, Reece Rybinski

Key departures: Jayla Bousquet, Madison Bradbury

BRANDON, MB – After re-loading in the summer with a bevy of young, talented players and welcoming back some strong returnees, the Brandon Bobcats are looking to continue improving after a strong showing in the preseason.

First-year coach Novell Thomas has brought in five new players, including a trio of high-school recruits and a pair of Manitoba College Athletics Conference (MCAC) transfers. This year’s squad rattled off five wins in a row in exhibition play to start the year, and will look to roll that momentum into the Canada West regular season.

After a stellar rookie season, Aimee Johnston will shoulder much of the load on offence. She finished among conference leaders in scoring (11.7 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg), free-throw percentage (.810), steals (2.3 spg), and minutes played (32.3 mpg).

Forward Jaynell Gillett also had a break-out season in 2011-12, and is expected to contribute in a big-way on both ends of the court. The former Canada West track athlete used her experience and athleticism to excel while logging 31.4 minutes per game last season.

Also returning to this year’s squad are forwards Chantel Gaslard and Alanna Johnston, as well as Winnipeg products Kaela Cranston, Stephanie Haynes, and Sarah Dobie. Fifth-year forward Reece Rybinski is also on this year’s roster, but will miss some time after suffering a knee-injury in the off-season.

Regina products Maegan MacKay and Ambrea McDonald-Okoro are both former Saskatchewan high-school stand-outs making the jump to the CIS ranks. Joining them is Basketball B.C. Elite program grad and former South Kamloops Secondary Pacer Elsa Langill.

Transferring to BU from the college ranks are Carrera Lamoureux from Canadian Mennonite University, and fellow Winnipegger Brittany Boudreau who is coming to BU from University of Winnipeg College.


2011-12 conference record: 15-3 (3rd, Pacific)

2012 playoffs: 4-0 (CW gold)

2012 CIS tournament: 2-1 (silver)

Last CW title: 2012

Last CIS title: 2008

CIS ranking: #10

CW ranking: #3

Key additions: Maggie Sundberg, Cherub Lum, Jaime Hills

Key returnees: Kris Young, Leigh Stansfield, Victoria Spangehl

Key departures: Alex Vieweg, Zara Huntley

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds will attempt to defend the Canada West championship in 2012-13, but are much younger than the lineup that captured the title last season.

Forwards Zara Huntley and Alex Vieweg have graduated. The front court will be anchored byLeigh Stansfield, who recorded 8.1 points a game last year. She is the only fifth-year player on the T-Birds roster. Victoria Spangehl, a fourth-year forward, should also provide valuable minutes up front, as will sophomores Adrienne Parkin and Stephanie Bell.

UBC does return guard Kris Young, a Second Team Canada West and CIS Tournament All-Star. She led the T-Birds in points and assists last season and was second in rebounds. Young also averaged 21 points in four Canada West playoff games.

A trio of guards, Alyssa Binns, Erika Vieweg and Zana Williams, are back after dealing with injuries and will be joined by talented second-year Cassandra Knievel.


Head coach Deb Huband brought in a talented recruiting class, including guards Cherub Lum, Jaime Hills and Maggie Sundberg, one of the best players in Connecticut high school basketball two years ago. Up front, Andrea Strujic and Susan Thompson have joined the UBC program.


2011-12 conference record: 2-16 (6th, Pacific)

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #11

Key additions: Sarah Allison, Melissa Irish, Jessica Jazdarehee, Kayla McFadden

Key returnees: Roslyn Huber, Madison Kaneda, Emily Kanester, Krystal Schouten, Angela White

Key departures: Ashley Briker, Laura Campbell, Mackenzie Carnes, Kiersten Shulhan, Audrey Siebert-Timmer

KELOWNA, BC – This version of the UBC Okanagan Heat, for being just their second year in Canada West, will have a strong veteran presence, as head coach Heather Semeniuk will lean on a pair of fifth year players to provide leadership in the locker room and on the floor.

Madison Kaneda, a two-guard, and Roslyn Huber, a post player who excels away from the basket, are the two fifth-year players that will not only lead but also contribute statistically. Last ,year Huber averaged 13.6 ppg., tops on the team and 4.5 rpg., third for the Heat. She connected on 40% of her three point attempts. Kaneda, a guard,was the team’s top rebounder at 4.9 rpg. and second on the team in scoring at 11.1 ppg.

Coach Semeniuk has transferred in a lethal scorer from the University of Calgary in Sarah Allison; this former Team B.C. player has an extremely deadly and quick jumper and shows no hesitation in taking her shot. Allison is only in her second year of eligibility and has averaged close to 20 ppg in the preseason for the Heat.

Emily Kanetser had an up and down freshman season for the Heat with flashes of brilliance, she has come into this fall ready to play and has shown very well in the preseason so far, look for the guard from Vernon to have a very solid sophomore season.

Backcourt depth should not be an issue for UBC Okanagan as Melissa Irish is back for her fifth year to help at point, Angela White returns to the rotation and is the team’s premier defender. Newcomers Laura Gini, a Kelowna resident who has transferred to her hometown team from Algonquin College and freshman Jessica Jazdarehee will both factor in the backcourt mix along with second year Tia Sadler.


2011-12 conference record: 14-6 (3rd, Prairie)

2012 playoffs: 0-2

2012 CIS tournament: 1-2 (4th)

Last CW title: 2001

Last CIS title: 1989

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #8

Key additions: Kristie Sheils, HC Damian Jennings

Key returnees: Tamara Jarrett, Alex Cole, Jessica Franz

Key departures: Jenna Kaye, Megan Lang

CALGARY – A new era for Dinos women’s basketball begins Friday night when Damian Jennings makes his CIS debut as head coach when the University of Calgary hosts the Manitoba Bisons.

Jennings, who has significant international experience as head coach of the British Junior National team, replaces Shawnee Harle, who resigned after a 18-year career with the Dinos last spring. With his European perspective on the game, he expects the Dinos to play an up-tempo, high-energy, entertaining brand of basketball.

The graduations of guards Jenna Kaye and Megan Lang leave the Dinos with 24 points per game to replace, but they have a trio of fifth-year returning veterans in forwards Jessica Franz and Alex Cole along with guard Megan Schaufele. Franz averaged 11.6 points and seven rebounds for the Dinos last year, while Jarrett was the team’s second-leading scorer with 12.4 per game last season when the Dinos went 14-6 in conference play and upset No. 1 Regina in the national quarterfinal at home in the Jack Simpson Gym.

Joining her countryman Jennings in making the trip across the Atlantic, British junior national teamer Kristie Sheils fills the point guard spot for the Dinos. Sheils, who played previously at Palm Beach State College in Florida as well as for a club team in Wales, brings a competitive streak and impressive basketball sense with her to Calgary.


2011-12 conference record: 12-6 (2nd, Pacific)

2012 playoffs: 2-2 (CW 4th), 0-1 at Regionals

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #2

Key additions: Jessica Collins (G), Shayna Litman (F)

Key returnees: Aieisha Luyken, Sarah Wierks, Nicole Wierks

Key departure: Tessa Klassen (G)

ABBOTSFORD, BC – The Fraser Valley Cascades enter 2012-13 with a talented veteran lineup that has gained valuable experience the past two years competing at a high level in the very talented Canada West conference.

The Cascades are led by Aieisha Luyken, who averaged 12.4 points per game while playing over 32 minutes per night for Coach Al Tuchscherer. Sarah Wierks, who was named to the 2010-11 Al-Canadian rookie team, averaged 9.3 [points and 9.8 rebounds per game and has become a steady force in the middle of the Cascades lineup.

Sarah’s sister Nicole, is one of five players in their fourth year with UFV and will be looked to for the veteran leadership, on the floor, with the graduation of Tessa Klassen, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Nicole averaged 30 minutes per game while contributing 10 points and six boards per night. She was named the Canada West recipient of CIS Tracey MacLeod Award for her determination, perseverance and unwavering spirit battling career threatening injuries.


2011-12 conference record: 6-14 (6th, Prairie)

Last CW title: 1993

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #13

Key additions: Erin Skippon (P), Karen Li (PG)

Key returnees: Kim Veldman (P), Ail Cameron (G), Kaitlyn Olsen (G)

Key departures: Lauren Taal (G), Deanna Dotts (P), Morgan Cross (F)

LETHBRIDGE, AB – A new era of women’s basketball at the University of Lethbridge is set to begin with the 2012-13 season. As former University of Alberta assistant coach Erin McAleenan was hired as the 10th head coach in the program’s history.

McAleenan also brings a wealth of national and provincial team experience to the program. She was an assistant coach with the Canadian Developmental National team at the Pan Am Games in 2011 and an apprentice coach with the Canadian Senior National team in summer 2011.

The Horns will have a distinctly different look as well with only five players returning from last season’s team and only 10 players on the roster.

Looking for some leadership, the Horns welcome OUA transfer Erin Skippon to the front court. Skippon played four seasons with the Queen’s Gaels and in her final season with the Gaels’, the 6’0” post from Kelowna, BC averaged just under 11 points per game and 7.1 rebounds.

The addition of Skippon will allow third-year forward Kim Veldman to use her versatility to her advantage. Kim is an athletic forward who is able to play back to the basket as well as spot up from the perimeter.

Returning players Steph Inman, Kaitlyn Olsen, and Ali Cameron have put a lot of extra hours in the gym to work on their guard play since last season, making all of them threats from the 3 point line. True freshman Karen Li, who was the BC AA Provincial MVP will also see time in the ‘Horns back court and her future looks bright at the CIS level.


2011-12 conference record: 3-17 (7th, Prairie)

2012 playoffs:

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: 1997

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #15

Key additions: Rebecca Potter, Madison Kinzel, Tia Majewski, Krystal Drain, Karina Patterson

Key returnees: Sheree Carmona-Galdamez, Samantha Pyke, Stephanie Gill, Robyn Eyer, Christiane Fischer

Key departures: Mubo Ilelaboye, Lauren Mortier, Allison Balasko, Vanessa de Vries, Maria Pawlyshyn

WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Bisons have gone through changes on and off the court as they get ready for the new season as Randy Kusano and Michele Hynes move in as interim co-coaches.

Kusano is the winningest coach in the history of high school basketball in Manitoba. Hynes, 24, completed her five year university playing career with the Manitoba Bisons in 2010 and started coaching her coaching career with coach Danis’ Junior Bisons in 2005.

The team will have a smaller roster in numbers with only 11 players in the lineup and five players playing their first season at Manitoba. There is no fifth-year seniors on the squad and only one fourth-year player (Christiane Fischer).

The Bisons have lost three team-leading scorers from last year and will rely on a scorer-by-committee system with numerous players (third year Stephanie Gill – last season: 5.4 ppg; third year Robyn Eyer: 5.2 ppg; third year Sheree Carmona-Galdamez: 3.9 ppg) this season available to produce, contribute and lead in scoring depending on game situations.

With flexibility at positions, the team will play a different style of ball during portions of the season but will try in the words of the coaches to be ‘grindy and lots of small ball’ against opponents. Rebecca Potter (6-2) and Samantha Pyke (6-0) are the only two players over six feet tall.


2011-12 conference record: 15-3 (1st, ACAC South)

2012 playoffs: 3-1 (ACAC silver)

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #14

Key additions: Jenelle Gieske, Lisa Ivanics, Hillary Annich, Jordan Anstice, Jordan Maclean

Key returnees: Danica Rybachuk, Emily Larson, Nikki Golding, Carrie Campbell, Evan Hudson

Key departures: Katie Pearson, Jessica Comfort

CALGARY – Joe Enevoldson knows it’s a whole-new ball game. The Mount Royal Cougarsl coach says joining the university ranks is going to be fun and exciting… and naturally, tougher.

Eyeing the stiffer competition, Enevoldson decided to stock his lineup with more-experienced players, with four of his five incoming players being CCAA transfers. Seven players return from the squad that finished runner-up in Alberta colleges in 2011-12.

Leading the way are two ACAC all-conference guards: third-year Danica Rybachuk and fifth-year Emily Larson. Larson led the Cougars in scoring last season with a 14.7 points-per-game average, while Rybachuk followed at 12.8.

Among the transfers are forward Jenelle Gieske and scoring guard Lisa Ivanics both from Lethbridge College, point-guard Hillary Annich of St. Albert and forward Jordan Anstice, who moves over from Concordia College for her final year of eligibility and is already taking on a leadership role.

The fifth newcomer is high school grad Jordan Maclean, a forward from Spruce Grove, who Enevoldson expects to have an impact during her university career along with Gieske, who has four years of eligibility.


2011-12 conference record: 15-1 (PacWest)

2012 playoffs: 3-2

2012 CCAA tournament (6th)

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #12

Key addition: G Jordyn Rabbitt

Key returnees: G Mercedes VanKoughnett, F Kady Dandeneau, F Sarah Robin, F Emily Kaehn, G Jennifer Bruce

Key departures: Jennifer Clyne, Jennifer Knibbs, Erin Beckett, Maria Newman

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – The UNBC Timberwolves are starting a new era as they enter their first Canada West season. After coming off a successful 2011-2012 campaign in B.C.’s PacWest Conference, the Timberwolves will be looking forward to a new challenge in their inaugural CIS season.

Head coach Loralyn Murdoch will once again be leading the Timberwolves from the bench, her 15th season.

The Timberwolves had great leadership in their starting line-up that helped them with their on-court successes last season. The team was led by All-Canadian Jennifer Clyne, who averaged 16.93 points and 4.21 rebounds per game.

Murdoch is excited about the addition of third year guard Jordyn Rabbitt, who played two years at SAIT (ACAC) before transferring to UNBC. The 5-5 guard, although small, plays larger than she is. Her tenacity on the boards has made her one of UNBC’s top rebounders during the team’s preseason play.

Even though the Timberwolves have lots some of their leadership the crop of returning players will help to ease the transition into the CIS. Mercedes VanKoughnett, Kady Dandeneau, Sarah Robin, Emily Kaehn and Jennifer Bruce will all be returning to the roster again this year. VanKoughnett, Kaehn, and Bruce will all be entering their fourth year while Robin is in her third, Dandeneau is entering her fifth and final year with the team, and is expected to be a leader both on and off the court.

VanKoughnett has shown her ability to take control from the guard position. The fourth year put up a double-double in two out of three of the games at the Naismith Classic hosted by Waterloo University at the beginning of October. She has continued to match up with her opposition. Her vocal leadership has rallied her team to a 4-2 preseason record, which the Timberwolves will look to carry through to the regular season.


2011-12 conference record: 20-0 (1st, Prairie)

2012 playoffs: 3-1 (CW silver), 2-0 at Regionals

2012 CIS tournament: 2-1 (5th)

Last CW title: 2004

Last CIS title: 2001

CIS ranking: #2

CW ranking: #1

Key additions: F Charlotte Kot, P Nicisha Johnson, G Katie Polischuk

Key returnees: G Michelle Clark, F Lindsay Ledingham, P Brittany Read, G Danielle Schmidt

Key departure: G Joanna Zalesiak

REGINA – The Regina Cougars return four starters from last year’s team and for the third time in the last three seasons, the Cougars finished in first place in the conference preseason coaches’ poll.

Gone is first-team All-Canadian and Canada West MVP Joanna Zalesiak, but the Cougars return two-time Canada West all-star Lindsay Ledingham, 2010 conference all-star Brittany Read, last season’s leading scorer Michelle Clark, and fifth-year guard Danielle Schmidt to the starting lineup.

Clark, who was used as a shooting guard last season, is expected to run the point with Zalesiak off pursuing a professional career in Europe.

Third-year post Jennilea Coppola, who has led the team in blocks in both of her seasons at the U of R, has been used in a starting role by seventh-year head coach Dave Taylor through the non-conference schedule. Providing depth on the bench for the Cougars is fourth-year forward Megan Chamberlin, Weber State transfer Kehlsie Crone, second-year guard Madi Docherty, and rookies Charlotte Kot and Katie Polischuk.

Second-year post Alyssia Kajati is expected to fill a significant role but has battled illness through the non-conference schedule. Brandon transfer Nicisha Johnson and third-year guard Taylor Pelletier round out the U of R roster.


2011-12 conference record: 15-5 (2nd, Prairie)

2012 playoffs: 3-1 (CW bronze), 0-1 at Regionals

2012 CIS tournament: 1-2 (6th)

Last CW title: 2011

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: #6

CW ranking: #5

Key additions: Kaylee Halvorson, Desarae Hogberg, Bailey Johnson

Key returnees: Dalyce Emmerson, Kabree Howard, Kiera Lyons

Key departures: Katie Miyazaki, Mary Hipperson, Amy Lackie

SASKATOON – With an interim coach at the helm, the Saskatchewan Huskies suad enters another year looking to be a force in the Canada West.

The Huskies will have a core group of returning athletes working under new head coach Jill Humbert. Humbert, a former standout student-athlete with the Huskies, is filling in for Lisa Thomaidis, who is on a professional leave of absence for the 2012-13 season.

Returning to the Huskies starting lineup will be Canada West Rookie of the Year Dalyce Emmerson, as well as guards Kabree Howard and Kiera Lyons. Emmerson made a big impact in 2011-12 as one of two players in the CIS to average a double-double with 13.4 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game. Howard quarterbacks’ the offence averaging nine points per game and tallying 54 assists last season. Lyons averaged 15 minutes per game off the bench for the Huskies in 2011-12 and will be looked at to fulfill one of the starter roles left vacant.

Adding to the team will be high school recruits Kaylee Halvorson, Bailey Johnson and Desarae Hogberg. Halvorson has big experience on the international stage. The perimeter player represented Canada at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women. She has also played for Canada on the U17 Women’s Youth Olympic 3-on-3 team, as well as the Cadette National team. Johnson was a member of the Junior Huskies program, while Hogberg played with Saskatchewan’s provincial team.


2011-12 conference record: 9-9 (3rd, Pacific)

2012 playoffs: 0-2

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #7

Key additions: Rae-Maryse Laljee (guard), Rebeca Fernandez (post), Megan Sherwood (forward)

Key returnees: Diane Schuetze (post), Jen Ju (guard), Jorri Duxbury (guard)

Key departures: Kaitlyn Widsten, Michelle Dimond, Kailey Colonna

KAMLOOPS, BC – This should be the year for the Thompson Rivers WolfPack. After nurturing the core of his team for four years, head coach Scott Reeves will have a solid mix of veterans and rookies.

Diane Schuetze was a CIS second team all-star and was one of the top rebounders in the Canada West last season. She is back to anchor the offence.

Jen Ju and Jorri Duxbury will be the team’s starting guards. The team’s other fifth year player, Tracy Kocs is one of the most dangerous three point shooters in the Canada West.

Top rookie recruits include BC “AA” All-star Rebeca Fernandez and two players from the very successful Riverside “AAA” program in BC—guard Denise Spacek and forward Megan Sherwood.

After sitting out a year, Rae-Maryse Laljee is ready to play. She has two years of CIS experience already with Trinity Western.


2011-12 conference record: 8-10 (4th, Pacific)

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #10

Key additions: Chantelle Martin (redshirted last year)

Key returnees: Holly Strom, Stephanie Carkner, Emily Knauff, Sarah Cleveland, Janelle Traber

Key departures: Tiffany Olsen, Laurelle Weigl

LANGLEY, BC – With the Spartans entering their third season under coach Cheryl Jean-Paul, the goal is to get to the playoffs for the first time in her tenure. This year’s team – one that is heavy on guards and light on size – has the pieces to do that.

The Spartans return three starters from last year in Holly Strom, Stephanie Carkner and Emily Knauff, as well as both Sarah Cleveland and Janelle Traber who, at times, saw starting minutes. While TWU does not have the size it had last year, with Laurelle Weigl and Tiffany Olsen both graduating, the Spartans do have the talent, and a solid veteran core, to improve on last year’s 8-10 record. And if the likes of Laurissa Weigl, Chelsey Olsen and Chantelle Martin, the latter of which will join the Spartans on the court after redshirting last year, can step into bigger and more significant roles this season, the Spartans will have a chance to make some noise.

Trinity Western is still a relatively young team, with only Carkner and Knauff playing in their fifth year, and that bodes well for the future. For this year though, there are still questions about how the Spartans will keep up in Canada West without much in the way of size. However, if the Spartans can use their speed and outside shooting effectively and if Strom can take her game to another level and be a consistent scoring threat, as she is more than capable of doing, Trinity Western will have a good chance to return to the post-season for the first time since 2009.


2011-12 conference record: 8-10 (5th, Pacific)

Last CW title: 1999

Last CIS title: 2002

CIS ranking: #7

CW ranking: #6

Key additions: F Kristen Monasterski, F Jenna Bugiardini, F Nicole Karstein, F Tessla Rennie, G Ashley McGinnis, G Jenna Krug

Key returnees: G Debbie Yeboah, F Jessica Renfrew, F Chelsea McMullen, G Cassandra Goodis

Key departures: none

VICTORIA, BC – The Victoria Vikes 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.

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.

Sinclair will be leaning on her core of seniors shaped by fifth-years Debbie Yeboah and former Camosun Charger Chelsea McMullen. 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, 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, whose five-foot-ten stature help under the boards.

Leading the way for the freshman class are forwards Jenna Bugiardini and Tessla Rennie. 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.


2011-12 conference record: 9-11 (5th, Prairie)

2012 playoffs: 0-2

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: 1995

CIS ranking: NA

CW ranking: #9

Key additions: Kerri Kuzbyt, Lauren Anderson, Katie Waring, Megan Noonan, Taylor Thorkelsson, Kelsey Solarchuk

Key returnees: Stephanie Kleysen, Yael Kaplan, Alyssa Grant, Danielle Baril, Alex Warburton, Tia Coulter

Key departures: Amy Ogidan, Mackenzie Prasek

WINNIPEG – Head coach Tanya McKay, entering her 17th season with the Winnipeg Wesmen, has assembled a group of players with a variety of playing experience.

Five players on this year’s roster will be entering their third or fourth years of playing experience. Fourth-year forward Alyssa Grant averaged over nine points a game last season and once again showed her touch from outside. Grant will be looked upon this year to score key baskets both from inside and from three-point territory. Third-year guard Stephanie Kleysen averaged 9.9 points and 7.2 rebounds last year in which she missed four games due to injury. Kleysen, a former Canada West rookie of the year, is more than capable of averaging a double-double for the team this season.

Guard Yael Kaplan, entering her third season took full advantage of increased playing time last year averaging 10.8 points per game. Kaplan with another year of experience should be a force this year. Danielle Baril, in her fourth season and Kelsey Solarchuk, who was a red-shirt last season after coming to the team from Brandon will add depth off the bench. Second year players Alex Warburton and Tia Coulter both showed flashes in their rookie seasons and will look to provide more this season.

Five new faces will join the team this season, including three of the top four high school players in Manitoba. Guard Kerri Kuzbyt, ranked No. 1, averaged 24 points, six rebounds, six assists in grade 12. Kuzbyt was named the Top Female High School Athlete in Manitoba in 2011-2012. Lauren Anderson, a 6-2 post ranked No. 2, averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds last year. Number four ranked Megan Noonan, is a prolific guard averaging 20 points and dishing out nine assists in her final year of high school. Taylor Thorkelsson, a 5-11 forward will add depth and size off the bench. Katie Waring , a 5-7 guard from High River, Alta. has shown early on she is ready for the CIS level.