PREVIEW 2014 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS women’s basketball championship: No. 1 Lancers aim for fourth straight Bronze Baby triumph

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Photo credit Edwin Tam

OTTAWA (CIS) – The tournament host University of WindsorLancers hope to capture a remarkable fourth straight Bronze BabyTrophy this weekend on their home court at the St. Denis Centre,which would give them the second longest championship streak in CISwomen’s basketball history.

The ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS Final 8 gets under way on Fridayand culminates Sunday at 8 p.m.

with the gold-medal final, live onSportsnet 360.

Sportsnet 360 also has live coverage of Saturday’ssemifinals at 3 and 5 p.m. All 11 games from the tournament -including televised contests – will be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv.

The OUA champion Lancers, who head into the competition as theNo. 1 seed for the second straight season and for the third time infour years, will be joined in their quest for the CIS banner by thesecond-seeded Saint Mary’s Huskies (AUS champs), No. 3Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West champs), No. 4 McGill Martlets(RSEQ champs), No. 5 Fraser Valley Cascades (Canada Westfinalists), No. 6 Queen’s Gaels (OUA finalists), No. 7Alberta Pandas (Canada West bronze medallists) and No. 8 WilfridLaurier Golden Hawks (OUA bronze medallists).

In Friday’s quarter-finals, Alberta will battle SaintMary’s in the 1 p.m. opener, followed by Queen’s vs.Saskatchewan at 3 p.m., Laurier and Windsor at 6 p.m., and FraserValley and McGill in the 8 p.m. nightcap.

The St. Denis Centre is where it all began for the Lancers, whobeat Saskatchewan in front of a packed house in the 2011 final tobecome the first team in history to hoist the Bronze Baby on homecourt. They have since added titles in Calgary two years ago and inRegina last winter.

Windsor is currently tied with Winnipeg (1993-1995), Victoria(1980-1982) and UBC (1972-1974) as teams to capture three straightCIS women’s basketball crowns, trailing onlyLaurentian’s five consecutive triumphs from 1975 to 1979.

The veteran-laden Lancers are enjoying another spectacularseason in 2013-14. They head into the national tournament with anoverall record of 33-1 versus CIS competition and are 8-0 againstteams competing at this week’s championship, including threewins over Laurier, two apiece against Fraser Valley andQueen’s, and one over Alberta. Since a 62-58 upset loss toCarleton in its OUA opener back on Nov. 1, Windsor has racked up 27consecutive victories, including a 73-48 domination ofQueen’s in the Ontario conference final.

The defending champs are led by a pair of fifth-year standoutsin post Jessica Clemençon and guard Miah-Marie Langlois, aswell as fourth-year guard Korissa Williams, all named OUA Westall-stars this year. Clemençon, a three-time all-Canadianand former CIS player of the year, was once again the team’stop scorer (18.2) and rebounder (7.7) this season. Langlois is atwo-time CIS defensive player of the year and was the MVP of the2011 and 2012 national tourneys, while Williams was thechampionship MVP a year ago.

“It is an incredible privilege to be competing for anothertitle on our home court,” says nine-year head coach ChantalVallée, whose troops averaged a CIS-best 83.0 points pergame in league play and has defeated first-round opponent Laurier73-44, 70-59 and 86-58 over the course of the campaign. “I amvery grateful that our program has qualified for the championshipsthrough the front door for the sixth straight year, and that wehave the opportunity to capture our fourth Bronze Baby. We couldnot be more excited to have the tournament start and play in frontof our spectacular home fans!”

Saint Mary’s is considered by many to be Windsor’sbiggest threat this week. The back-to-back AUS champs returned tothe CIS tournament for the first time since 1977 a year ago andclaimed a program-best bronze medal as the No. 2 seed. While theyhaven’t faced any of their Final 8 foes this season, theHuskies enter the 2014 championship with an unblemished 29-0overall mark against CIS competition.

Fifth-year guard Justine Colley, the reigning CIS player of theyear, all-time CIS scoring leader and member of the Canadian seniornational squad, is still the undisputed leader of the team, buthead coach Scott Munro was able to diversify is offence this seasonthanks in large part to the addition of NCAA transfer RachelleCoward. After winning the CIS scoring title each of the past threeyears, Colley “settled” for 20.8 points per contest andthe AUS crown this season, while Coward averaged 18.8 to make theHuskies (81.6) the second-highest scoring team in the countrybehind Windsor (83.0).

“We’re obviously excited to represent our conferenceonce again,” says Munro, in his sixth campaign at the helm.“We have had a great season to date and are looking forwardto competing against the best teams in the country and ourfirst-round matchup on Friday.”

Third-seeded Saskatchewan spent most of the season in the shadowof Alberta (20-2) and Regina (20-2) in the Canada West Prairiedivision, finishing in third place with a solid 17-5 record. Afterbeing pushed to the limit by UBC in their best-of-three conferencequarter-final series, the Huskies upset Regina in the semifinals,before defeating Fraser Valley 67-56 for the Canada Westbanner.

The Huskies, who reached the lone CIS final in program historyat the St. Denis Centre in 2011, are led by 6-foot-3 post DalyceEmmerson, who was named Canada West player of the year after sheplaced fourth in the country in scoring (19.2) and second inrebounds (11.6).

“We are honoured to be representing the Canada Westconference as league champions this year. We had to defeat a numberof excellent opponents on the road to get here, so we feel likewe’re playing our best basketball right now,” says LisaThomaidis, the senior national team head coach who is back with theHuskies this season after a year away from the U of S sidelines.“After a one year hiatus, we are thrilled to be back atnationals. Windsor did a great job of hosting in 2011, so we arelooking forward to seeing what the hosting committee has in storefor everyone this time around.”

McGill is making its third straight appearance at thechampionship and, after finishing seventh in 2012 and fifth a yearago, appears ready to add to the lone CIS medal in program history,bronze in 1996.

Playing in the defensive-minded Quebec conference, the Martletsaveraged only 57.9 points per game in league play (32nd in thecountry) but were the top defensive team in the nation thanks totheir stingy 47.7 average. In typical McGill fashion, they beatUQAM 63-50 in the RSEQ final. Super sophomore Mariam Sylla wasvoted conference MVP this season thanks to her team-leading 13.1points and 9.4 boards per contest.

“I am happy with our fourth-place seeding; it shows somerecognition and respect for our conference,” says RyanThorne, in his 11th season as head coach. “Our returningplayers have been there before and know what it takes to win. Nowit’s just about going out there and doing it. We should matchup well with Fraser Valley, our first opponent. We played them atnationals last year and both have a lot of similar qualities. Depthis more of a strength for both teams rather than just having onekey person who goes in and does everything.”

Fraser Valley went 0-2 last winter in its first-ever trip theCIS tourney, including a 70-52 loss to McGill in consolationaction. The Cascades booked their ticket for the 2014 championshipwith an upset of heavily-favoured Alberta in the Canada West semis,defeating the Pandas 66-56 in their own gym.

The Cascades boast a 26-8 overall record against CIS opponentsthis season but are only 2-5 versus Final 8 teams, including 27 and20-point losses to top-ranked Windsor at the St. Denis Centre inlate December. Sarah Wierks was UFV’s top scorer (11.9) andrebounder (8.1) in league play.

“We are excited to be heading back to the Final 8. Weexpect to build off last year’s experience and we’reproud to represent the Fraser Valley and the Canada West conferencein Windsor this week,” says bench boss Al Tuchscherer.“Our team has played with resolve this year and we haveplayed some of our best basketball of late. We hope that survivingthe Canada West playoffs will serve us well, as we know that wewill have to be playing our best against the seven other greatteams that have qualified for the Final 8.”

Queen’s returns to the national championship for the firsttime since 2003 and only the third time in program history. TheGaels earned their ticket to Windsor in spectacular fashion onMarch 1 with an overtime win over Carleton in the OUA East final.They ran out of gas in the OUA title match against the Lancershowever, dropping a lopsided 73-48 decision last Saturday.

In Friday’s opening round against Saskatchewan, the Gaelswill have to play better than they did back on Oct. 18 when theywere dominated 68-33 by the Huskies at the Ryerson Invitational inToronto.

“I am very pleased with the progress our relatively youngteam has made over the course of the season. Earning the EastDivision title and moving through the playoffs has provided themwith great experiences that will help them grow in confidence forthe national championship and into future seasons,” says32-year head coach Dave Wilson. “The University of Windsor,in addition to being a great basketball team, will put on afirst-class championship that will be an experience that ourplayers will enjoy and remember for the rest of theirlives.”

The Pandas, who rebounded from their upset loss to UFV in theconference semis with a 55-50 win over Regina to claim Canada Westbronze and subsequently earn the wildcard berth for the Final 8,are without a doubt one of the strongest seventh seeds in recentmemory.

Alberta was ranked no lower than fifth in the country allseason, including third behind Windsor and Saint Mary’s ineach of the last nine weekly national polls. The Pandas gave theLancers a good run for their money in pre-season action on Oct. 19,losing 57-50 on home court in Edmonton, and went 3-0 againstthird-seeded and Canada West champion Saskatchewan over the courseof the campaign.

Among this week’s contenders, Alberta is the only teamother than Windsor to claim the Bronze Baby in the past, in1999.

“We are excited to be back at the national championshipwith a chance to compete for the Bronze Baby. We are grateful to beselected for the at-large berth and are thrilled to be joining suchan impressive field of teams,” says sideline boss ScottEdwards, who guided his troops to CIS bronze in their lastappearance in 2009. “Getting an opportunity to play a reallytalented and tough team like AUS champion Saint Mary’s willbe a formidable challenge. We will rely on our preparation througha really tough Canada West conference, our depth and experience tohelp us prepare for this matchup.”

Like Queen’s a week before them, the No. 8 Golden Hawksqualified for the Final 8 last Saturday thanks to an overtime winover Carleton, this one in the OUA bronze-medal match. It actuallytook two extra periods for Laurier to best the Ravens 70-65.

The Hawks will no doubt have to play their best game of theseason on Friday if they hope to upset reigning three-time championWindsor. They are 0-3 this year against the Lancers, including acrushing 86-58 loss in the OUA West final.

“It’s great. It’s especially great for ourseniors. We’ve got four girls who were in Windsor three yearsago for nationals and were extremely motivated to get back andfinish their careers there,” says head coach Paul Falco.“It’s a great accomplishment and it’s going to bea good experience for our younger girls and we’re lookingforward to playing the top teams in the country.”

PARTICIPATINGTEAMS

No. 1 Windsor Lancers

Head Coach: Chantal Vallée (9th season)
Regular season record: 21-1
Regular season standing: 1st OUA West
Playoff record: 3-0
Playoff finish: OUA champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 33-1
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 8-0 (2-0 vs. UFV, 2-0 QNS, 1-0ALB, 3-0 WLU)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 1
Top 10 best ranking: No.1 (7 weeks)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
Conference award winners (OUA West): Miah-Marie Langlois (defensiveMVP), Chantal Vallée (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars (OUA West): Jessica Clemençon(F), Miah-Marie Langlois (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars (OUA West): Korissa Williams (G)
Conference all-rookie team (OUA West): Cheyanne Roger (F)
Season leaders (points per game): Jessica Clemençon (18.2),Miah-Marie Langlois (15.3)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Jessica Clemençon(7.7)
Season leader (assists per game): Miah-Marie Langlois (4.9)
Team national ranking (offence): 1st (83.0)
Team national ranking (defence): 3rd (50.2)
CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 6th
CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 12-3(.800)
CIS championship best result: 3-time champions (2013, 2012,2011)
CIS championship all-time medals: 4 (3-1-0)
CIS championship last appearance: 2013 (champions)
CIS championship sequence: 6th consecutive appearance
CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 2-0 (1 appearance)

No. 2 Saint Mary’s Huskies

Media Guide (PDF 1.86 MB)

Head Coach: Scott Munro (6th season)
Regular season record: 20-0
Regular season standing: 1st AUS
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: AUS champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 29-0
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-0
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 2
Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (6 weeks)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
Conference award winners: Justine Colley (MVP)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Justine Colley (G), Rachelle Coward(G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Laura Langille (F)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Justine Colley (20.8), RachelleCoward (18.8)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Laura Langille (8.2)
Season leader (assists per game): Justine Colley (5.7)
Team national ranking (offence): 2nd (81.6)
Team national ranking (defence): 17th (59.1)
CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals):3rd
CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 3-3(.500)
CIS championship best result: Bronze (2013)
CIS championship all-time medals: 1 (0-0-1)
CIS championship last appearance: 2013 (bronze)
CIS championship sequence: 2nd consecutive appearance
CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-0

No. 3 Saskatchewan Huskies

Media Guide (PDF 4.33 MB)

Head Coach: Lisa Thomaidis (15th season)
Regular season record: 17-5
Regular season standing: 3rd Canada West Prairie
Playoff record: 4-1
Playoff finish: Canada West champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 26-7
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 3-3 (2-0 vs. UFV, 1-0 QNS, 0-3ALB)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 6
Top 10 best ranking: No. 4 (4 weeks)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
Conference award winners: Dalyce Emmerson (MVP & defensiveMVP)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Dalyce Emmerson (P)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: None
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Dalyce Emmerson (19.2), KieraLyons (12.6)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Dalyce Emmerson (11.6)
Season leader (assists per game): Kabree Howard (4.0)
Team national ranking (offence): 5th (71.5)
Team national ranking (defence): 18th (60.0)
CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 8th
CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 8-12(.400)
CIS championship best result: Finalists (2011)
CIS championship all-time medals: 2 (0-1-1)
CIS championship last appearance: 2012 (6th place)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 1-year absence (6thappearance in 7 years)
CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-1 (1 appearance)

No. 4 McGill Martlets

Head Coach: Ryan Thorne (11th season)
Regular season record: 13-3
Regular season standing: 1st RSEQ
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: RSEQ champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 19-4
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-0
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 8
Top 10 best ranking: No. 6 (3 weeks)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
Conference award winners: Mariam Sylla (MVP)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Mariam Sylla (F), FrançoiseCharest (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Hélène Bibeau (F)
Conference all-rookie team: Jennifer Silver (F)
Season leaders (points per game): Mariam Sylla (13.1),Hélène Bibeau (8.4)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Mariam Sylla (9.4)
Season leader (assists per game): Dianna Ros (3.1)
Team national ranking (offence): 32nd (57.9)
Team national ranking (defence): 1st (47.3)
CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 9th
CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 7-13(.350)
CIS championship best result: Bronze (1996)
CIS championship all-time medals: 1 (0-0-1)
CIS championship last appearance: 2013 (5th place)
CIS championship sequence: 3rd consecutive appearance
CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-0

No. 5 Fraser Valley Cascades

Media Guide (PDF 4.09 MB)

Head Coach: Al Tuchscherer (12th season / 8th in CIS)
Regular season record: 17-5
Regular season standing: 1st Canada West Pacific
Playoff record: 3-1
Playoff finish: Canada West finalists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 26-8
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 2-5 (0-2 vs. WSR, 0-2 SASK, 1-1ALB, 1-0 WLU)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 5
Top 10 best ranking: No. 3 (3 weeks)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
Conference award winners: None
Conference 1st team all-stars: None
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Aieisha Luyken (G)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Sarah Wierks (11.9), AieishaLuyken (10.7), Kaylie Sartori (10.7)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Sarah Wierks (8.1)
Season leader (assists per game): Aieisha Luyken (4.3)
Team national ranking (offence): 6th (70.2)
Team national ranking (defence): 7th (53.3)
CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals):2nd
CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 0-2(.000)
CIS championship best result: Tied 7th place (2013)
CIS championship all-time medals: 0
CIS championship last appearance: 2013 (tied 7th place)
CIS championship sequence: 2nd consecutive appearance
CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-2 (2 appearances)

No. 6 Queen’s Gaels

Media Guide (PDF 1.84 MB)

Head Coach: Dave Wilson (32nd season)
Regular season record: 16-6
Regular season standing: 1st OUA East
Playoff record: 2-1
Playoff finish: OUA finalists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 25-11
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-4 (0-2 vs. WSR, 0-1 SASK, 0-1WLU)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 10
Top 10 best ranking: No. 10 (2 weeks – last 2 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 2
Conference award winners (OUA East): Gemma Bullard (Tracy MacLeodAward), Dave Wilson (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars (OUA East): Liz Boag (G), JennyWright (W)
Conference 2nd team all-stars (OUA East): Gemma Bullard (W)
Conference all-rookie team (OUA East): Andrea Priamo (P)
Season leaders (points per game): Jenny Wright (13.0), Liz Boag(12.0)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Robyn Pearson (9.7)
Season leader (assists per game): Liz Boag (3.5)
Team national ranking (offence): 17th (63.6)
Team national ranking (defence): 11th (56.8)
CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals):3rd
CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 1-4(.200)
CIS championship best result: 4th place (2001)
CIS championship all-time medals: 0
CIS championship last appearance: 2003 (tied 7th place)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 10-year absence
CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-0

No. 7 Alberta Pandas

Media Guide (PDF 421 KB)

Head Coach: Scott Edwards (8th season)
Regular season record: 20-2
Regular season standing: 1st Canada West Prairie
Playoff record: 3-1
Playoff finish: Canada West bronze medallists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 32-4
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 5-2 (0-1 vs. WSR, 3-0 SASK, 1-1UFV, 1-0 WLU)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 3
Top 10 best ranking: No. 2 (1 week – first poll)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
Conference award winners: Jaime Norum (Tracy MacLeod Award), ScottEdwards (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Andria Carlyon (F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: None
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Andria Carlyon (10.5), KendraAsleson (10.2)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Andria Carlyon (7.3)
Season leader (assists per game): Jessilyn Fairbanks (3.4)
Team national ranking (offence): 7th (69.3)
Team national ranking (defence): 8th (54.6)
CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals):10th
CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 13-12(.520)
CIS championship best result: 1-time champions (1999)
CIS championship all-time medals: 4 (1-2-1)
CIS championship last appearance: 2009 (bronze)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 4-year absence
CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-1 (1 appearance)

No. 8 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks

Media Guide (PDF 1.20 MB)

Head Coach: Paul Falco (6th season)
Regular season record: 15-7
Regular season standing: 3rd OUA West
Playoff record: 3-1
Playoff finish: OUA bronze medallists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 23-13
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 1-5 (0-3 vs. WSR, 0-1 UFV, 1-0QNS, 0-1 ALB)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): Unranked
Top 10 best ranking: No. 7 (1 week)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 7
Conference award winners (OUA West): Doreen Bonsu (Tracy MacLeodAward)
Conference 1st team all-stars (OUA West): None
Conference 2nd team all-stars (OUA West): Laura Doyle (G)
Conference all-rookie team (OUA West): Alexandra Spadaro (F)
Season leaders (points per game): Laura Doyle (10.5), KaitlynSchenck (7.3), Whitney Ellenor (7.3)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Doreen Bonsu (5.5)
Season leader (assists per game): Lee Anna Osei (3.7)
Team national ranking (offence): 21st (63.1)
Team national ranking (defence): 16th (58.8)
CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals):4th
CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 2-5(.286)
CIS championship best result: 5th place (2011)
CIS championship all-time medals: 0
CIS championship last appearance: 2011 (5th place)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 2-year absence
CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 2-0 (1 appearance)

CHAMPIONSHIPSCHEDULE (all times EASTERN TIME)

Thursday, March 13
18:30 All-Canadian Awards Dinner (St. Clair Centre for theArts)

Friday, March 14
13:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 7 Alberta vs. No. 2 Saint Mary’s(www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 6 Queen’s vs. No. 3 Saskatchewan(www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 8 Wilfrid Laurier vs. No. 1 Windsor (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 5 Fraser Valley vs. No. 4 McGill (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Saturday, March 15
10:00 Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
12:00 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv *)
17:00 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv *)

Sunday, March 16
15:00 5th Place (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
17:00 Bronze (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Final (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv *)

* The webcast of all 3 televised games (semifinals & final)will be on pay-per-view basis.

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body ofuniversity sport in Canada. Every year, 11,000 student-athletes and700 coaches from 55 universities and four regional associations viefor 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS alsoprovides high performance international opportunities for Canadianstudent-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well asnumerous world university championships. For further information,visit www.cis-sic.ca or followus on:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CIS_SIC
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cissports
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/universitysport

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