The UVic Vikes women’s basketball team gets their season underway with a pair of games in Saskatchewan on November 4 and 5, with both games scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m.
The Vikes, who host the U Sports national championship in March, will get an immediate chance to measure themselves against a team that is sitting atop every pre-season ranking there is. The Cougars are ranked No. 1 in both the Canada West pre-season poll and the first U Sports national-wide top 10 poll.
The games are sure to be close contests though, with UVic earning a spot near the top of the polls themselves. No. 3 in Canada West and No. 10 in the country are the ranks the Vikes have earned after a strong pre-season.
The Canada West conference will see a change in the league and playoff format for 2016.
All 17 members will play under a unified format, with the elimination of the Pioneer and Explorer divisions, which were used the last two seasons.
The new format features a 20-game regular season schedule, with each team playing four geographical, or historical opponents every year, with games against six of the remaining 12 opponents every other year.
The top 12 teams based on winning percentage will earn post-season berths, with playoff ranking based on each team’s Rating Percentage Index (RPI) from the regular season. RPI will be used in order to account for the various strengths of schedule.
Last Time Out
The Vikes have challenged themselves against the best competition in the nation throughout their pre-season slate of games. A 73-67 win over the Alberta Pandas and 64-76 loss to the reigning national champion Saskatchewan Huskies in their last games played were just more steps in the process of readying themselves to host nationals.
The Cougars have worked hard to earn their No. 1 ranking. They went a perfect 12-0 in the pre-season with only one of those games being played against opposition from outside U Sports.
The last time they were in action was at the Canada West tournament, hosted in Victoria, where they defeated both Fraser Valley and UBC.
By the Numbers
16: Regina secured 16 of a possible 17 first place votes in the Canada West pre-season poll
77: The number of points per game Regina averaged last season
Dani Sinclair, Vikes head coach
“We performed pretty well at home last year but our record on the road was not strong so regardless of who we are playing on any given day playing better on the road is a goal for us.
“Having the opportunity to play Regina who is a number team and legitimately so is going to be good for us.”
“Finding ways to create our own energy by talking and being able to deal with adversity in a game is important. You are not going to play perfect, and they are a great team so finding ways to play through those types of situations is tougher on the road because you don’t have that crowd support.”