Photo by Mona Ghiz: From left to right: Kevin Dickie, Acadia University director of athletics and chair of AUS women’s basketball; Phil Currie, AUS executive director; Mickey Fox
(ISN) – (HALIFAX, N.S.) – Atlantic University Sport held a launch event Thursday afternoon at the Scotiabank Centre to make several exciting announcements around the upcoming joint Subway AUS men’s and women’s basketball championships.
This marks the first time the women’s championship, presented by Wilsons Security, and the men’s, presented by G-Series will be hosted together by AUS in one location over one weekend. Five women’s games and five men’s games will be played from Thursday, Feb. 26 to Sunday, March 1 at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
AUS executive director Phil Currie made several announcements around the newly formatted championship weekend today, including the naming of renowned StFX X-Women basketball alumnus Theresa McCuish as the event’s honorary chair.
A recent inductee into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame, the Balls Creek, Cape Breton native amassed 2,111 career points in her five-year career with the X-Women – a record which was not broken until just this past year by former Saint Mary’s Huskies standout Justine Colley.
MacCuish was named StFX, AUAA (now AUS) and CIAU (now CIS) rookie of the year in the 1991-92 season, her first with the X-Women. She earned the conference MVP honour in 1992-93 and is a five-time AUS all-star and two-time CIS all-Canadian.
“Being honorary chair for the 2015 AUS basketball championships is incredibly meaningful to me,” said MacCuish. “Basketball is absolutely an integral part of our sport culture in Atlantic Canada and today we see a new chapter of that culture evolving with the AUS women’s basketball championship being staged alongside the men’s at the Scotiabank Centre.”
“It is a venue where our schools, teams and athletes have made history,” she added. “And a place where they will continue to pave a future for the many AUS and CIS champions to come.”
Currie also announced the involvement of another celebrate Canadian athlete. Two-time Olympic gold medallist Heather Moyse will address the championship participants at an awards luncheon, Friday, Feb. 27 as the keynote speaker.
Hailing from Summerside, P.E.I., Moyse has represented Canada in bobsleigh at three separate Olympics and played for Canada’s national rugby team at two Women’s Rugby World Cups. Also a former CIS athlete, she competed as part of both the track and field team and the women’s soccer team for the University of Waterloo.
“I’m really excited to get back home to the Maritimes for this event!” said Moyse. “Halifax is such a terrific host city for championships like this, and I’m so happy to be part of it as the keynote speaker (and, of course, as a spectator) in the first year that the AUS will host both the men’s and women’s championships at the same time!”
The weekend will kick off with the women’s quarterfinal doubleheader Thursday night. The men’s quarterfinals will take place Friday evening and will follow the same format.
Women’s semifinal games will take place Saturday afternoon, with the men’s semifinals to follow Saturday evening.
On Championship Sunday, teams will compete for their respective 2015 AUS basketball championship banners and the opportunity to reach their CIS national championships.
“As a conference, we’re thrilled to be moving forward with this joint championship weekend,” said AUS women’s basketball chair Kevin Dickie. “Not only is it great to be a part of this effort to raise the profile of women’s basketball in this region, but it’s great to see this event grow and be elevated as a whole. Bringing the two championships together on the same weekend in the same place is going to provide twice the excitement for the fans and a great overall experience for the student-athletes involved.”
Another initiative that will be a part of the weekend’s festivities will involve support for the extremely successful “Shoot for the Cure” campaign to raise funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
This season, all 47 CIS women’s basketball schools are participating in the program where they raise money through regular season games, non-conference matches, tournaments and special events. Since it was launched in the fall of 2007, the program has provided over $760,000 in donations.
Jeff Speedy, head coach of the UNB women’s program is the Shoot for the Cure project manager for CIS.
At the AUS championship, there will be a cheque presentation to Speedy where the total amount all eight AUS schools have raised this season will be announced. The “AUS total” will include proceeds from the 50/50 draw as well as other donations and fundraising activities that take place over the course of the weekend.
“I am thrilled that the Shoot for the Cure initiative will be part of the Subway AUS basketball championships,” commented Speedy. “Many of our great student-athletes in the AUS work hard at their own institutions to help raise awareness and money to fight this brutal disease. I look forward to doing even more by bringing the Shoot for the Cure to the championship weekend.”