By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
February 20, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – In the first round of Canada West playoffs, the No. 10 University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team are pitted against the No. 2-ranked University of Regina.
The Cougars will host the best-of-three series, Feb. 22-24, after an impressive 19-3 regular season record, while the Vikes finished 16-6 in the Pacific Division.
The Vikes are under new leadership this year, with associate coach and former-Vike Dani Sinclair taking over the reigns this season for head coach Rich Chambers. This season, Sinclair, along with former-Thunderbird and now Vikes assistant coach, Leanne Evans, have guided the Vikes women to their first post-season appearance since the 2009-10 season.
Despite a comfortable 9-2 record at home, the Vikes will travel to face the Cougars and look to improve on their 7-4 road record. The Vikes opened their 2013 portion of the season with a five-game win streak and only conceded two losses this half of the season. The team wrapped up their regular season with an exciting home-win over the No. 6 UBC Thunderbirds to finish third in the Pacific Division standings.
The undisputed leaders of the Vikes squad are fifth years Debbie Yeboah (Winnipeg, MB) and Chelsea McMullen (Prince George, B.C.), who closed out their regular season in style with season-high performances of 29 and 20 points, respectively, in the Feb. 16 win over the T-Birds. Yeboah has led the Vikes in scoring in 13 of the Vikes’ 22 regular season games, averaging 18.2 points per game. McMullen, a transfer from Camosun College, leads the team in field goal percentage (.511), as well as offensive rebounds (2.5).
The Vikes women are ranked No. 4 in the Canada West for both scoring offence and scoring defence. Adding to the mix are point guard Cassandra Goodis (Penticton, BC), as well as Jessica Renfrew (Victoria, BC). Goodis leads the teams in steals (6.3) and defensive rebounds (4.7), while Renfrew, is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.7 points per game.
Outside of the seniors, the Vikes have had impressive contributions off the pine including top-notch defence from third year Tessla Rennie (Red Lodge, MT) and scoring touches from second years Jenny Lewis (Fall River, NS) and Shaylyn Crisp (Victoria, B.C.).
The Vikes will travel to face the Cougars on Feb. 22 at 5 p.m., Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. and, if necessary, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. All times listed are in PST. The games will be broadcast live at http://UVic.canadawest.tv
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
Canada West regular season record: 19-3
Projected Starting Five: Michelle Clark, Danielle Schmidt, Kehlsie Crone, Brittany Read, Lindsay Ledingham
The Cougars enter the post-season undefeated in their last four match ups and have only conceded two losses in 2013, one of which handed to them by the Vikes. In the Jan. 18 match-up, the Cougars suffered a 61-58 loss at McKinnon gym despite a 22-point performance from fourth-year forward Michelle Clark.
Clark leads the Cougars with a 14.7 points-per-game average, while fifth year Lindsay Ledingham is not far behind, averaging 14.2 points per game. The duo of Clark and Ledingham helped Regina finish the regular season ranked the top scoring offence top scoring defence. The Cougars also boast the Canada West’s No. 1 scoring margin (+20.0) and No. 1 rebounding margin (+11.8).
Head coach Dave Taylor has been with the Cougars since 2006 and has previously earned CIS silver medals at the 2008 and 2009 national championship.