(ISN) – NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – Basketball standouts Sarah Wierks (UFV Cascades) and Chris McLaughlin (Victoria Vikes) were named Canada West First Stars of the Week for their dominant performances over the January 30 – February 1 weekend.
Wierks exerted her will against the Mount Royal Cougars last Saturday, putting up 12 points and set a new Canada West all-time single game record of 31 rebounds. She did not let up on the following night, hauling down another 27 rebounds which tied the fourth-highest single-game total in conference history. She added a game-high 20 points and a team-record seven blocks in leading the Cascades to a 70-51 win.
McLaughlin was equally as unstoppable in men’s basketball, averaging 27.5 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, while leading the Vikes to a weekend sweep versus the Lethbridge Pronghorns.
This is Wierks’ third First Star honour in the last four weeks, while McLaughlin was previously selected as Third Star last November 10.
Manitoba’s Rachel Cockrell (volleyball) and UBC’s Kris Young (basketball) round out the women’s Stars of the Week, while UBC’s Tommy Nixon (basketball) and UFV’s Manny Dulay (basketball) were also honoured on the men’s side.
First Star: #5 Sarah Wierks, UFV (Basketball)
Just when you think Sarah Wierks couldn’t possibly be any more dominant on the boards, she ups the ante.
Against the Mount Royal Cougars on the weekend, the 6’2″ fifth-year centre with the UFV women’s basketball team turned in an unprecedented rebounding performance.
On Saturday, she set Canada West single-game records for total rebounds (31) and offensive rebounds (12), and added 12 points and two blocks. Despite her efforts, UFV fell 79-72 in overtime to the host Cougars.
On Sunday, Wierks registered “just” 27 rebounds as the Cascades bounced back for a 70-51 win, but that still represented the fourth-best single-game boarding binge in conference history. Her 20 rebounds on the defensive end, though, were a Canada West record, and she tied her own team record with seven blocked shots and added a game-high 20 points.
Wierks eclipsed the 1,000 total rebound plateau on the weekend – she’s now at 1,003 for her career, trailing only ex-Saskatchewan Huskies star Sarah Crooks (1,181) on the Canada West all-time list. Wierks and the Cascades (9-7) sit third in the Explorer Division, and they face the UNBC Timberwolves on the road this week.
Second Star: #6 Rachel Cockrell, Manitoba (Volleyball)
The defending CIS women’s volleyball champion Manitoba Bisons earned an important home-and-home sweep of the Winnipeg Wesmen during the January 29-31 weekend.
Fourth-year right side Rachel Cockrell ended the two-match sweep with 34 kills, 16 digs, four total blocks, four assists and one service ace with 37.0 points while starting and playing in all six sets.
The Bisons hosted the volleyball portion of the 24th annual Duckworth Challenge that pits Manitoba and Winnipeg in varsity competition in three sports over the course of the season. On Thursday, January 29, Manitoba swept the Wesmen in three sets and Cockrell was named Manitoba’s Duckworth Challenge Player of the Match for producing a match-high 19 kills and 20 points along with six digs, two blocks and one assist. On Saturday, January 31 at Winnipeg, Cockrell continue to swing away as she had another match-high 15 kills and 17 points plus ten digs, three assists, two total blocks and one service ace in another three-set sweep.
With the two wins, Manitoba is now sixth in the ultra-competitive Canada West conference with a 12-10 record and only two conference games remaining.
Cockrell continues her MVP-type of season as she stands first in Canada West with 5.05 kills per set and 429 kills while also first with 488.0 conference points.
The Bisons will next face the MacEwan University Griffins (10-12) on the road during the February 7-8 weekend with first serve on Saturday at 12 p.m. MT and 12 p.m. CT on Sunday.
Third Star: #6 Kris Young, UBC (Basketball)
Fifth-year UBC Thunderbirds guard Kris Young had her best offensive weekend, statistically, of the season as she recorded 49 points in two wins over the Calgary Dinos.
Young, an Arts student from North Vancouver, B.C., took over Friday night’s game, scoring a season-high 29 points, in just 28 minutes of play, in UBC’s 80-53 victory. She added four rebounds, three assists and two steals for another outstanding all-around performance.
On Saturday, Young led all players with 20 points as her team won 67-56. Her six rebounds tied for the team-high, while she also added four steals, three assists and a block to her scoreline.
Young is fourth in Canada West scoring with an average of 17.9 points per game. Her Thunderbirds, currently tied for first in the Pioneer Division with a record of 13-3, will travel to Regina this weekend.
First Star: #12 Chris McLaughlin, Victoria (Basketball)
The CIS No. 7 University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team completed a weekend sweep of the Lethbridge Pronghorns on January 30-31, but it didn’t come easy. Fifth-year forward Chris McLaughlin totalled 55 points this weekend to help the Vikes climb up to a 12-4 record.
On January 30, the senior captain poured 26 out of his total 28 points in the second half of the game. The Vikes were trailing to the Pronghorns in the first half, but six-foot-ten McLaughlin put up 11 straight points to outscore Lethbridge in the third quarter. The Ontario native’s second-half efforts helped the Vikes win 91-80 over the Pronghorns.
The following night, Vikes were struggling to keep up to Lethbridge in the first three quarters. McLaughlin supported the team with his experience and leadership on the court, keeping the Vikes in check all night by contributing 27 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 36 minutes played. This was his eighth double-double of the season.
The Vikes visit the Brandon Bobcats in Manitoba for a pair of games this weekend, with eyes set on a CIS finish this season.
Second Star: #7 Tommy Nixon, UBC (Basketball)
Senior forward and Canada West leading scorer Tommy Nixon was again the star for his UBC Thunderbirds as they split a pair of games against the Calgary Dinos and the league’s second-most prolific scorer, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson.
Nixon recorded more points, and more rebounds, than Ogungbemi-Jackson in both games to maintain his lead atop the Canada West scoring race.
In Friday night’s matchup, Nixon paced UBC’s offence with 19 points in a close 93-92 loss. The Vancouver native also grabbed eight rebounds.
The Thunderbirds bounced back on Saturday with a huge 93-88 triumph, with Nixon leading the way with 32 points and 10 rebounds. Nixon was 9 of 14 from the field and converted on 14 of his 16 shots from the foul line. He was especially clutch for his team late in the fourth quarter. UBC was up 89-88 with 24 seconds to go and Nixon clinched the game for the T-Birds after calmly nailing all four of the free throws he had after Calgary got to within a single point.
Saturday was the fourth time in 10 games that Nixon has scored at least 30 points. He is now averaging 21.8 points per Canada West regular season game.
Third Star: #2 Manny Dulay, UFV (Basketball)
Manny Dulay put together one of the most dominant shooting displays in Canada West history on Saturday evening on behalf of the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team.
The third-year point guard from Surrey, B.C. nailed nine of his 14 attempts from beyond the arc to pace the Cascades to an 87-65 victory over the Mount Royal Cougars in Calgary. Dulay finished with a game-high 31 points, and his nine treys are tied for the second-most in a single game in conference history.
On Sunday, the Cougars turned in a terrific effort to edge the Cascades 74-72 and snap their 29-game regular season win streak, but Dulay was once again outstanding. He counted a trio of three-pointers among his team-high 17 points.
Dulay is one of five Cascades to average double-figure scoring, and he ranks second on the squad at 12.4 points per game. The CIS No. 8-ranked Cascades (15-1) have already clinched first place in the Explorer Division, and they hit the road to face the UNBC Timberwolves this weekend.