PREVIEW 2015 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS women’s basketball championship: Lancers look for 5-peat, Williams and LaRocque could make history

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Mar 10, 2015

OTTAWA (CIS) – The University of Windsor Lancers will be looking for a record-tying fifth straight Bronze Baby Trophy this week at the ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS women’s basketball championship in Quebec City.

The eight-team tournament, hosted by Laval University, gets underway Thursday and culminates Sunday at 1 p.m. with the national final, live on Sportsnet 360. Saturday’s semifinals are live on Sportsnet ONE (noon & 2:30 p.m.) and all 11 games from the competition will also be webcast on www.CIS-SIC.tv.

In addition to the OUA champion Lancers, the contenders for the 2015 Bronze Baby are the second-seeded UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West champs), No. 3 McGill Martlets (RSEQ champs), No. 4 Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West finalists), No. 5 Alberta Pandas (Canada West bronze medallists), No. 6 Saint Mary’s Huskies (AUS champs), No. 7 Ryerson Rams (OUA finalists) and No. 8 Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ semi-finalists).

Thursday’s quarter-final matchups include Saint Mary’s vs. McGill in the 12:30 p.m. opener, followed by Ryerson vs. UBC at 2:30 p.m., host Laval vs. Windsor at 6 p.m., as well as Alberta vs. Saskatchewan at 8 p.m.

The Lancers were a logical choice for the No. 1 seed as they topped all 13 national weekly polls this season, posted a CIS-best 19-1 mark in league play and added three straight wins in the OUA playoffs, including a convincing 71-51 victory over Ryerson in the conference final.

With another triumph on Sunday, Windsor would equal the five consecutive Bronze Baby titles captured by Laurentian from 1975 to 1979. Individually, fifth-year guards Korissa Williams and Jocelyn LaRocque could become the first players in history to win five CIS women’s hoops rings as no Laurentian player accomplished the feat in the ‘70s. With the graduation of standouts Miah-Marie Langlois and Jessica Clemençon following last year’s championship run, Williams became the undisputed leader of the Lancers this season and led the team in points (19.3 per game), rebounds (7.0) and assists (4.7).

“We are happy to have qualified for the national championship for the seventh straight season. It is a testament to all of our players who have been here before, to the winning culture of the program and to the direction we are continuing to head in the future,” said 10-year head coach Chantal Vallée, whose team’s only loss to a CIS opponent in 28 overall contests this season was a 60-53 setback against Laurier on Jan 17. “After losing a number of key players who truly changed the face of our program at the end of last season, I was unsure of how we were going to react. Yet, here we are qualifying once again for the CIS championship ranked as the number one team in the country. That is simply outstanding and a great demonstration of our tenacious grit and deep desire to win.”

Boasting a 27-3 overall mark against CIS opponents this season, UBC earned the No. 2 seed for the Final 8 thanks to a thrilling 69-68 come-from-behind win over Saskatchewan in the Canada West final. The Thunderbirds, who led for only 45 seconds in the entire contest, scored five unanswered points in the last 20 seconds of regulation to steal the victory, with conference MVP Kris Young hitting the game-winning jump shot with seven ticks left on the clock.

“I’m very excited to be back at the national championship with a veteran team that has shown tremendous growth over the season,” said 20-year bench boss Deb Huband, who has led the six-time CIS champion T-Birds to the title in 2004, 2006 and 2008. “The Canada West Final Four was a competitive battle between worthy opponents who pushed and challenged us to earn the berth and the No. 2 seed at nationals. We are thrilled to represent UBC and Canada West at Laval.”

After posting the second-best record in program history during the regular season (15-1), the No. 3 McGill Martlets also survived a scare in their conference final, but in their case, a loss would have meant the end of their campaign. Like Kris Young in the Canada West title match, third-year forward Mariam Sylla, the RSEQ player of the year, was the hero as her team rallied from a late five-point deficit in a 53-51 gold-medal win over UQAM. She finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds, including McGill’s last eight points in the contest.

“I thought that we would have an advantage with our front-court height and depth but we just lost (6-foot-4 centre) Alex Kiss-Rusk, one of our key performers, who was injured in our conference final,” said head coach Ryan Thorne, whose troops kept the best defensive dossier in the nation (50.5 points per game) en route to their fourth consecutive Quebec title. “I’m not sure if she will be ready to play at the CIS tourney. That said, we’ve got some veterans at the guard spot who have been there and understand what it takes, so overall, we’ll be pretty competitive.”

The 4-5 matchup on Thursday will be an all-Canada West battle between Saskatchewan and Alberta. The rivals opened the regular schedule against each other back on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1st in Edmonton, with the Pandas winning 64-57 and 74-67.

Looking for their first Bronze Baby title, the fourth-seeded Huskies are led by 6-foot-3 forward Dalyce Emmerson and kept the sixth-best defensive record in the country this season (54.8). The Pandas, whose lone CIS title dates back to 1999, counter with high-scoring Saskia Van Ginhoven (16.7) and the nation’s second-ranked offence (75.3).

“We are excited to be returning to the CIS championship tournament once again,” said 16-year Huskies mentor Lisa Thomaidis, who has guided the team to eight of the last 10 national tournaments and is also the head coach of the Canadian senior national program. “It is a privilege to represent the Canada West and we are anticipating a very competitive, tough tournament. Laval will do a fabulous job of hosting and we’re excited to showcase what we’ve been working toward all year.”

“We are honoured to represent the Canada West conference, and grateful to be selected as the at-large berth in this year’s championship,” said Alberta coach Scott Edwards, whose team received the wildcard entry for the second straight year. “Being included in such an impressive field of teams is an exciting opportunity for our program and we look forward to challenging for the Bronze Baby.”

Despite losing two-time CIS MVP Justine Colley to graduation and all-Canadian forward Rachelle Coward to a broken ankle in the preseason, Saint Mary’s managed to three-peat as AUS champion thanks to a 59-51 win over UPEI in the conference final. Freshman guard Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse was trusted into a starting role in her university debut and went on to lead the team in scoring (12.2) and rebounding (7.0) in league play as the Huskies relied heavily on the nation’s second-ranked defence (51.9) to get the job done.

“The Huskies are excited to represent our conference for the third straight season. After a challenging regular schedule, we completed the AUS season with two grind-it-out playoff wins,” said head coach Scott Munro, who led his program to back-to-back CIS podiums in 2013 (bronze) and 2014 (silver). “We have been in tough games all year and expect nothing less this week at the CIS tournament. As always it will be a very strong field and we’ll have to be at our best at both ends of the court to give ourselves a chance against anyone we face.”

In only one season, No. 7 Ryerson went from a 9-13 record to first place in the OUA East with a 16-3 mark, a trip to the conference final and now the first Final 8 appearance in program history. The high-scoring Rams boast the country’s fifth-ranked offence (72.8), led by OUA all-star guard Keneca Pingue-Giles and her 17.5 points per contest.

“We are extremely excited and proud to have earned Ryerson’s first women’s basketball berth at the national tournament and we will carry that pride with us,” said third-year head coach Carly Clarke. “However, we believe we have a great team that is capable of competing with everyone at the tournament so we are not just happy with traveling to Quebec City – we expect to compete for a national championship. As we have all year, we will focus on playing every single possession and trust that that will lead to our desired outcome.”

Tournament host Laval will be in tough in Thursday’s opening round against top-ranked Windsor, which triumphed at the Rouge et Or tournament at PEPS Gym back in October with three wins in three nights, including a 74-57 victory over the locals. The young Laval squad went 7-9 in league action and was led by a pair of rookies named RSEQ all-stars, forward Jane Gagné and guard Sarah-Jane Marois.

“Our message to the girls will be simple after falling in the RSEQ semifinals: We’re getting a second chance,” said Linda Marquis, the two-time CIS coach of the year who will leave her post at the end of the championship after a 30-year run on the Laval sidelines. “In order to have success, we’ll have to follow the game plan and execute. We have a young team, and against an opponent like Windsor, we’ll have to keep the mistakes to a minimum.”

NOTES: All Wednesday practices at PEPS (Laval U) are open to the media, starting at 8:15 a.m (detailed schedule below)… The All-Canadian Banquet is set for Wednesday evening at Hilton Quebec.

PARTICIPATING TEAMS

NO. 1 WINDSOR LANCERS

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Chantal Vallée (10th season)
Regular season record: 19-1
Regular season standing: 1st OUA West
Playoff record: 3-0
Playoff finish: OUA champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 27-1
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 5-0 (1-0 vs. McG, 1-0 ALB, 2-0 RYE, 1-0 LAV)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 1
Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (all 13 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 1st (80.5)
National ranking (defence): 4th (53.2)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Korissa Williams (defensive MVP), Chantal Vallée (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Korissa Williams (G), Cheyanne Roger (F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Jocelyn LaRocque (G)
Conference all-rookie team: Carly Steer (G)
Season leaders (points per game): Korissa Williams (19.3), Cheyanne Roger (12.2)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Korissa Williams (7.0), Andrea Kiss (7.0)
Season leader (assists per game): Korissa Williams (4.7)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 7th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 15-3 (.833)
All-time medals: 5 (4-1-0)
Best result: 4-time champions (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011)
Last appearance: 2014 (champions)
Sequence: 7th straight appearance
Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 2-0 (1 appearance)

NO. 2 UBC THUNDERBIRDS

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Deb Huband (20th season)
Regular season record: 17-3
Regular season standing: 1st Canada West Pioneer Division
Playoff record: 4-0
Playoff finish: Canada West champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 27-3
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 5-2 (3-1 vs. SSK, 2-1 ALB)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 2
Top 10 best ranking: No. 2 (8 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 8th (71.8)
National ranking (defence): 9th (55.9)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Kris Young (MVP)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Kris Young (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Harleen Sidhu (F)
Conference 3rd team all-stars: None
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Kris Young (18.0), Harleen Sidhu (13.2)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Harleen Sidhu (6.9)
Season leader (assists per game): Diana Lee (4.3)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 11th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 18-6 (.750)
All-time medals: 8 (6-2-0)
Best result: 6-time champions (2008, 2006, 2004, 1974, 1973, 1972)
Last appearance: 2012 (finalists)
Sequence: Return after 2-year absence
Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-0

NO. 3 McGILL MARTLETS

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Ryan Thorne (12th season)
Regular season record: 15-1
Regular season standing: 1st RSEQ
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: RSEQ champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 23-3
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 5-1 (0-1 vs. WIN, 5-0 LAV)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 4
Top 10 best ranking: No. 2 (3 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 22nd (65.0)
National ranking (defence): 1st (50.5)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Mariam Sylla (MVP)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Mariam Sylla (F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Dianna Ros (PG), Jennifer Silver (F)
Conference all-rookie team: Marika Guerin (G)
Season leaders (points per game): Mariam Sylla (12.4), Alex Kiss-Rusk (10.9)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Mariam Sylla (10.9)
Season leader (assists per game): Dianna Ros (4.1)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 10th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 9-14 (.391)
All-time medals: 1 (0-0-1)
Best result: Bronze medallists (1996)
Last appearance: 2014 (5th place)
Sequence: 4th straight appearance
Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-0

NO. 4 SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Lisa Thomaidis (16th season)
Regular season record: 17-3
Regular season standing: 2nd Canada West Pioneer Division
Playoff record: 3-1
Playoff finish: Canada West finalists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 25-6
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 2-5 (1-3 vs. UBC, 0-2 ALB, 1-0 RYE)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 3
Top 10 best ranking: No. 3 (last 4 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 12th (71.2)
National ranking (defence): 6th (54.8)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: None
Conference 1st team all-stars: Dalyce Emmerson (F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: None
Conference 3rd team all-stars: Laura Dally (G)
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Laura Dally (13.6), Dalyce Emmerson (13.3)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Dalyce Emmerson (8.8)
Season leader (assists per game): Kabree Howard (4.4)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 9th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 9-14 (.391)
All-time medals: 2 (0-1-1)
Best result: Finalists (2011)
Last appearance: 2014 (4th place)
Sequence: 2nd straight appearance (7th in 8 years)
Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-1 (1 appearance)

NO. 5 ALBERTA PANDAS

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Scott Edwards (9th season)
Regular season record: 16-4
Regular season standing: 3rd Canada West Pioneer Division
Playoff record: 3-1
Playoff finish: Canada West bronze medallists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 25-6
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 4-3 (0-1 vs. WIN, 1-2 UBC, 2-0 SSK, 1-0 LAV)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 5
Top 10 best ranking: No. 2 (2 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 2nd (75.3)
National ranking (defence): 15th (59.6)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Megan Wickstrom (Tracy MacLeod Award nominee)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Saskia Van Ginhoven (F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: None
Conference 3rd team all-stars: None
Conference all-rookie team: None
Season leaders (points per game): Saskia Van Ginhoven (16.7), Jessilyn Fairbanks (11.0)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Saskia Van Ginhoven (7.7)
Season leader (assists per game): Jessilyn Fairbanks (3.9)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 11th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 14-14 (.500)
All-time medals: 4 (1-2-1)
Best result: 1-time champions (1999)
Last appearance: 2014 (6th place)
Sequence: 2nd straight appearance
Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-1 (1 appearance)

NO. 6 SAINT MARY’S HUSKIES

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Scott Munro (7th season)
Regular season record: 16-4
Regular season standing: 1st AUS
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: AUS champions
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 22-6
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-0
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): Unranked
Top 10 best ranking: No. 4 (poll #6)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 9
National ranking (offence): 35th (60.3)
National ranking (defence): 2nd (51.9)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse (defensive MVP & rookie)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: None
Conference all-rookie team: Shanieka Wood (F)
Season leaders (points per game): Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse (12.2), Laura Langille (10.5)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse (7.0)
Season leader (assists per game): Angelina Carvery (3.7)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 4th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 5-4 (.556)
All-time medals: 2 (0-1-1)
Best result: Finalists (2014)
Last appearance: 2014 (finalists)
Sequence: 3rd straight appearance
Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-0

NO. 7 RYERSON RAMS

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Carly Clarke (3rd season)
Regular season record: 16-3
Regular season standing: 1st OUA East
Playoff record: 2-1
Playoff finish: OUA finalists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 25-7
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-3 (0-2 vs. WIN, 0-1 SSK)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 7
Top 10 best ranking: No. 7 (last 5 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 10
National ranking (offence): 5th (72.8)
National ranking (defence): 10th (57.1)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: None
Conference 1st team all-stars: Keneca Pingue-Giles (G)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Mariah Nunes (G)
Conference all-rookie team: Sofia Paska (F), Cara Tiemens (G)
Season leaders (points per game): Keneca Pingue-Giles (17.5), Sofia Paska (10.6)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Silvana Jez (6.1)
Season leader (assists per game): Keneca Pingue-Giles (3.3)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 1st
All-time record (not including Regionals): 0-0
All-time medals: 0
Best result: –
Last appearance: –
Sequence: 1st appearance
Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0–0

NO. 8 LAVAL ROUGE ET OR

Team Statistics
Head Coach: Linda Marquis (30th season)
Regular season record: 7-9
Regular season standing: 4th RSEQ
Playoff record: 0-1
Playoff finish: RSEQ semi-finalists
Overall record vs. CIS teams: 17-13
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-7 (0-1 vs. WIN, 0-5 McG, 0-1 ALB)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): Unranked
Top 10 best ranking: No. 9 (3 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 5
National ranking (offence): 28th (62.1)
National ranking (defence): 18th (60.4)

Individual Statistics
Conference award winners: Jane Gagné (rookie), Catherine Bélanger-Pâquet (Tracy MacLeod Award nominee), Raphaëlle Côté (Sylvia Sweeney Award nominee)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Jane Gagné (F)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Sarah-Jane Marois (G)
Conference all-rookie team: Jane Gagné (F), Sarah-Jane Marois (G)
Season leaders (points per game): Raphaëlle Côté (10.9), Jane Gagné (10.3)
Season leader (rebounds per game): Raphaëlle Côté (6.9)
Season leader (assists per game): Sarah-Jane Marois (2.7)

CIS Championship History
Appearances (not including Regionals): 18th
All-time record (not including Regionals): 10-31 (.244)
All-time medals: 3 (0-1-2)
Best result: Finalists (2002)
Last appearance: 2011 (7th place)
Sequence: Return after 3-year absence
Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-0

CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE

Wednesday, March 11 (practices at PEPS – U Laval: OPEN TO MEDIA)
8:15 Saint Mary’s
9:15 McGill
10:15 Ryerson
11:15 UBC
12:15 Laval
13:15 Windsor
14:15 Alberta
15:15 Saskatchewan

17:30 All-Canadian Awards Banquet (Hilton Quebec – Salle du Palais)

Thursday, March 12
12:30 Quarter-final 1: No. 6 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 3 McGill (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
14:30 Quarter-final 2: No. 7 Ryerson vs. No. 2 UBC (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 8 Laval vs. No. 1 Windsor (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 5 Alberta vs. No. 4 Saskatchewan (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Friday, March 13
18:00 Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Saturday, March 14
12:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
14:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
16:30 5th-place game (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Sunday, March 15
10:00 Bronze (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
13:00 Final (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

* The ENGLISH webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis. The French webcast is free.

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