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by James Nielsen

December 24, 2013, Victoria (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team will head east following the Christmas break to participate in the second annual Thunder Selects CIS Holiday Classic, December 28 – 30, at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, NS.

The tournament features eight CIS women’s teams from across the country competing in 12 games total over a three day period.  

The Vikes will face OUA’s McMaster Marauders, Dec. 28 at 2:00 p.m. The 7-5 Marauders will be looking to tune up for a second-half season run after dropping key games that have put their playoff aspirations in jeopardy. In contrast, the Vikes have gone on a 6-0 winning streak after opening their season with a disappointing 1-3 record, pushing them into a three-way tie for first-place in Canada West Pacific Division standings along with the University of British Columbia and the University of Fraser Valley.
Led by head coach Theresa Burns, the Marauders have relied heavily on the offensive output of fifth-year centre Hailey Milligan and second-year guard Danielle Boiago. Through ten games this season, the duo has posted 194 and 168 points, respectively, placing them among the top-5 in OUA scoring. Milligan’s 57-percent accuracy has put her in second-place overall in field goals scored with 76, while Boiago’s 22 treys also place her in second in the league in three-point tallies.
After losing her 2012-13 leading scorer Debbie Yeboah to graduation this off-season, head coach Dani Sinclair has compensated by spreading the Vikes offense out across the floor. Key offensive contributions have come from 2012-13 Canada West Rookie of the Year Jenna Bugiardini along with fourth-years Jessica Renfrew, Cassandra Goodis and third-year Jenny Lewis.  Renfrew leads the Vikes in scoring with 141 points through 10 games this season.
The Thunder Selects is a private non-profit organization formed in 1999 to provide girls aged 21 and under the opportunity to experience basketball at a high level in a fun, positive and professional environment. This year’s tournament includes eight teams, including two Canada West teams in Victoria and Manitoba.
Tournament Schedule (All games are PST)
Saturday, December 28
10 a.m.            Game 1                       Acadia           v          Western
12 p.m.           Game 2                       Brock              v          Dalhousie
2 p.m.              Game 3                       McMaster      v          Victoria
4 p.m.              Game 4                       SMU               v          Manitoba

Sunday, December 29
9 a.m.              Game 5                       Loser G1        v          Loser G2
11 a.m.            Game 6                       Loser G3        v          Loser G4
1 p.m.              Game 7                       Winner G1     v          Winner G2
3 p.m.              Game 8                       Winner G3     v          Winner G4
Monday, December 30
5 a.m.              Game 9                       Loser G5         v          Loser G6                    
7 a.m.              Game 10                     Winner G5      v          Winner G6                
9 a.m.              Game 11                     Loser G7         v          Loser G8                    
11 a.m.            Game 12                     Winner G7      v          Winner G8