T-Birds and Pandas to meet in top-3 battle


VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds, the No. 2 women’s basketball team in the CIS, is travelling to Edmonton this weekend to face off against the third-ranked University of Alberta Pandas on their first away weekend of the season. UBC will be looking to improve on its 2-0 record after sweeping University of Victoria Vikes at home last weekend.
Alberta has also had a perfect start to its regular season, as the team owns a 4-0 record. The Pandas polished off the University of Saskatchewan Huskies to start off the year, and then swept Trinity Western University last weekend, beating the Spartans handily on both nights.
UBC head coach Deb Huband says the Thunderbirds has historically had a heated rivalry with the Pandas, having faced them in the playoffs for four straight years between 2010 and 2013.
“They are a very experienced team, with several fourth and ffifth-year players on their roster,” she says. “They’re a big, athletic team with a physical, fast-paced style of play.”
The Thunderbirds will be looking for more magic from fifth-year guard Kris Young, the conference’s leading scorer, this weekend. The North Vancouver native is the reigning Canada West First Star of the Week after her performance last weekend against Victoria. She tipped the scales for UBC in the dying minutes of Friday’s contest, scoring the final eight points of the game to secure the win for her team, She recorded 23 points overall. Young was also instrumental in Saturday’s outing, scoring 15 points for the Thunderbirds.
Huband says her team has been working week by week to improve their skills, and is ready for what is sure to be a competitive weekend.
“They are formidable opponents,” she said of Alberta. “So these games will demand that we’re physical, that we’re gritty, that we compete on the boards and win the loose ball battles.”
Tip off on Friday in Edmonton is at 5 p.m. PT while Saturday’s game will go at 4 p.m. PT. Both games will be available online via live stream at canadawest.tv.