UBC Thunderbirds are undefeated with an 8-0 record in the Canada-West. A big reason for their incredible start has been the outstanding play of second-year guard, Maddison Penn. Penn who came to Thunderbirds in the off-season after playing in home-country, Australia for Canberra Capitals. In 2013-2014, she spent a season playing in the NCAA for Virginia Tech Hookies where she averaged 4.4 points per a game with 1.5 rebounds per a game. In total, she had 110 points along with 37 rebounds in 25 games.
Penn has already made a strong impression in USports and Canada-West during the first half of the season. She currently leads the Canada-West in scoring with 22.6 points per a game which is third in USports. She is second in Canada-West and USports for total points with 181 in eight games this season. She is averaging 6.0 rebounds and 48 rebounds all-together. She is fourth in the Canada-West for 3PT Pct. with 40.0%.
Lastly, she has connected on 62 of her 139 shots so far this season. Penn put on a show in the Thunderbirds sweep of the Vikes on the weekend of November 25th and 26th. On November 25th, she scored 26 points in an 81-62 win. The following night, she had a double with 36 points and ten rebounds in a 93-85 win. In the final game before the winter-break, Penn dropped 37 points against UBC Okanagan Sun in a 90-69 win. The Thunderbirds start the second-half with games against the defending Canada-West champions, Saskatchewan Huskies and Alberta Pandas. Penn will be counted on against the Huskies and Pandas. Penn will be the key to Thunderbirds’ Canada-West title chances.
Victoria Vikes fifth-year forward, Jenna Bugiardini is hoping to lead the Vikes to their first Canada-West title since 2001. The Hamilton, Ontario native has had very successful with the Vikes program over the last four seasons. In her first year (2012-2013), she won Canada-West rookie of the year and also was named to the CIS all-rookie team. Jenna also has been named Canada-West second-team All-Star twice, 2013-2014 season and last year.
This season, Bugiardini is having another great season for the Vikes as she is fifth in the Canada-West in scoring with 16.5 points per game. She has scored 132 points in eight games which places her 12th in Canada-West. She is tied for first in Canada-West for rebounds per a game with 9.8 and has 78 rebounds which is 8th in Canada-West. The Vikes entered the winter break with a disappointing 4-4 record. In the eight games, she has recorded four double-doubles including back-back nights against Calgary Dinos on November 11th and 12th.
She had 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 58-51 win and the following night, she had 18 points along with 12 rebounds in 55-54 win. Her last double-double occurred against the UBC Thunderbirds on November 26th where she had 20 points along with 13 rebounds in 93-85 lost. The previous night, she scored 26 points in the 81-62 lost. If the Vikes make a deep run in the playoffs, a huge reason would because of Bugiardini. The Vikes in the second-half have favorable schedule as they only play one USports ranked opponent, Winnipeg Wesmen which occurs during the final weekend of the season. With their schedule, there is the potential that Vikes could run the table. The team already has qualified for ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS women’s basketball championship as the host but they rather enter the championship as Canada-West champions.