Playoff pressure rides on weekend series against T-Birds

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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

February 12, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team know there is a lot on the line for this weekend’s home-and-home series against the No. 5 UBC Thunderbirds.

The Vikes will visit the T-Birds on Feb. 15 and turn around to host on Feb. 16, also the evening of the sixth-annual Shoot for the Cure event at McKinnon gymnasium.

FULL SCHEDULE  /  STANDINGS  /  LIVE VIDEO & STATS

The Vikes are coming off an important road sweep, Feb. 8-9, over Mount Royal, that puts them at a 15-5 Canada West record, lumped in the mix with Pacific Division toppers Fraser Valley (16-4), UBC (16-4) and Thompson Rivers (15-6). The playoff race has become so tight in the Pacific Division that this weekend’s games will mean big things as the top two of each division will gain home court advantage in the best-of-three quarter-finals, Feb. 22-23.

On the weekend, the Vikes bested the Cougars 79-50 on Friday and 94-58 on Saturday. Chelsea McMullen had a strong scoring performance in game one with a 21-point game, while rookie Jenna Bugiardini shot the lights out in game two with a 20-point showing.

The Vikes, now on a four-game win streak, have only conceded one loss in the 2013 portion of the Canada West schedule and have been able to rely on a considerably deep bench.

Joining Bugiardini and McMullen on the starting five are veteran and leading scorer Debbie Yeboah ,as well as point Cassandra Goodis and Jessica Renfrew. All five have been crucial leaders and tempo setters at the opening whistle but the Vikes bench has played a pivotal role in maintaining that tempo.

Second-years Jenny Lewis and Shaylyn Crisp have both put in important minutes, contributing with some big shots, while rookie Tessla Rennie has been a defensive force for the Vikes.

Boasting the fourth-best scoring offence in the Canada West, the No. 9 Vikes will need a weekend sweep to gain some territorial advantage in the quarter-finals. The Pacific Division will cross over with Prairie Division leaders Calgary, Regina, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Mainland rivals, UBC, are currently undefeated in their last six match ups and are led by third-year Kris Young, and fifth-year Victoria-native Leigh Stansfield. The Thunderbirds also boast head coach Deb Huband, who has guided the Birds to three CIS titles.

In addition to the UBC-UVic duel, on Feb. 16, the UVic Vikes will also partner with CTV, Kool FM and CFAX to host the sixth-annual Shoot for the Cure event. This event stems across all CIS schools and since launching in 2007, has raised over half a million dollars for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Fans and supporters are encouraged to wear pink in the stands. For more information or how to support visit http://www.cbcf.org

The Vikes and UBC will take to the floor on Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. in Vancouver and on Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. at McKinnon Gym. Both games will be broadcast live athttp://UVic.canadawest.tv

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