VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball coaching staff is having a busy summer as assistant coach Leanne Evans is currently head coach of an Under 15 B.C. provincial girls basketball program, leading them through a vigorous training and competition schedule in the lead up to their national championship at the end of July. While Evans is busy training the next generation of B.C. athletes, Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair was on duty with the Canadian Under 16 squad, who took home silver in Argentina last week at the FIBA U16 Americas Tournament.
Evans will be leading her under 15 team through several weekends of training and three exhibition tournaments before vying to be the best in the country at the Canadian national championship hosted Jul. 23-29 in Regina.
“Coaching the under 15’s this summer gives me an opportunity to take on a leadership role, which will help my professional development and allow me to bring back new, different ideas and strategies to help support Dani and the Vikes’ success next season,” said Evans, who is a former Canadian Interuniversity standout with UBC and joined the Vikes coaching staff in 2012.
“I am also lucky to have a great coaching staff around me and we all work well together as a team,” added Evans on her staff that includes Shaun McGuinness, director of high performance, Madeline Belding, assistant coach, and support staff Cheryl Jean Paul and Chris Spencer. “I appreciate that there is lots of feedback and dialogue between us to try and help these athletes perform at their best. We can work together to make adjustments or help them find different ways of doing things when faced adversity.”
The training commitments involved three-day camps, often with two sessions a day, through April and May, while the team faced their first weekend of competition, May 26-28, in Washington. Evans’ team travelled to West Vancouver to compete in the New Heights Tournament, Jun. 9-10, at Mulgrave School. There is no shortage of travel as the team will also travel to the Okanagan for practices before heading to Oregon for competition, Jul. 5-8.
“There will be some tough, big and athletic teams at the National championship so we have a lot to improve on to be able to compete for a gold medal in July,” said Evans.
Evans competed for the UBC Thunderbirds from 2005-09 winning a CIS national championship in both 2006 and 2008. In 2009 she was named the CIS Defensive Player of the Year and was actively involved with the Canadian women’s national team program from 2004-2011. Evans represented Canada at the junior, young women’s and senior women’s level. She played professionally overseas for the Townsville Fire in Australia and Stockholm 08 in Sweden.
Her playing experience continues to make her a valuable coaching asset both at UVic and to the next generation of basketball players.