By Lachlan Kerr (Sports Information Assistant)
November 21, 2013, VANCOUVER (ISN) – The UBC Thunderbirds women’s basketball team are back in their own gym this weekend as they welcome two Prairie opponents as the Manitoba Bisons and the Winnipeg Wesmen both roll into town.
Friday’s game against Winnipeg will tip off at 6 p.m. at War Memorial Gymnasium, while Saturday’s matchup against Manitoba will begin at 5 p.m.
The Saturday game is part of the VPS Family Day and the UBC “Take a Break” Festival activities scheduled for Nov. 23. UBC students will receive free admission to all the Thunderbirds games being played that day (two basketball and two volleyball).
UBC gave up a surprise 65-57 overtime defeat to Thompson Rivers University last Friday, the first in their history to that opposition and their second of the season. They promptly put things right the next night by comfortably dispatching the WolfPack 71-54 to settle the score. They enter the fourth week of the season with a 4-2 record and sole ownership of second place in the Pacific Division.
Guard Kris Young scored 13 and 16 points on Friday and Saturday, respectively, to lead UBC against Thompson Rivers. The North Vancouver native is currently sixth in Canada West scoring with an average of 16.3 points a game. She’s also ninth in rebounding (7.7 per game). Forward Harleen Sidhu leads the team in rebounding with 10.7 boards per game, which puts her in third in the conference. Her 13.8 points per game is tied for 11th in the league scoring race. Maggie Sundberg, Cassandra Knievel, Stephanie Bell and Adrienne Parkin are averaging about seven points a game.
Winnipeg are the first of UBC’s opponents and they too sit on a 4-2 record. Two factors that play into UBC’s hands this weekend are that both of Winnipeg’s losses have come away from home and all four wins have come against teams with a .500 record or worse.
Stephanie Kleysen is the key cog in the Wesmen’s wheels; she currently leads the team in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks. Providing her with some staunch assistance is Megan Noonan who is average 15.3 points a game herself and leads the team in assists averaging 3.3 a game. They have won each of their games convincingly, an average winning margin of 25 points. These blowout wins give them an impressive 15-point differential over their opponents in scoring on the season.
The Bisons sit even on the season with a 3-3 record but notably have lost their last two games. They have played exactly the same teams as Winnipeg so far this year, which serves as a good indicator when assessing the two teams. Similarly, they lost both of their match-ups against Calgary although their victories against Lethbridge, UNBC and Mount Royal were much more closely contested. They have a much more balanced offence with contributions coming across the board, four of their players are averaging between 8.8 and 11 points for the season.
UBC last played Manitoba and Winnipeg in November of 2012 in Winnipeg, and the Thunderbirds won both meetings by 15 points.