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canada westREGINA, Sask. (ISN) - For the second time since joining Canada West and for the first time since moving into the new gym at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport, the University of Regina’s women’s basketball team hosts the Canada West Final Four this weekend.
The tournament features three of the top four teams in the latest CIS Top Ten poll, as No. 3-ranked Saskatchewan and No. 4 UBC will square off in a Friday afternoon semifinal (5 p.m.) before the top-ranked Cougars host No. 8 Fraser Valley in the other semifinal at 7 p.m.
The third-place game goes on Saturday at 5 p.m., with the conference championship tilt scheduled for Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The Canada West champion will earn an automatic berth to the 2012 CIS Championship in Calgary, while the second-place team at the Final Four will head to Saskatoon next weekend to participate in the 2012 CIS West Regional hosted by the University of Saskatchewan.
What happens to the third-place team and the fourth-place finisher depends on where Saskatchewan finishes at the Final Four. The third-place team heads to the CIS East Regional (hosted by the University of Ottawa) if Saskatchewan finishes in first place or fourth place at the Final Four, while the third-place team will go to the CIS West Regional if Saskatchewan finishes in second or third.
The fourth-place team will participate in the CIS East Regional if Saskatchewan places second or third. If the Huskies win the conference title, the fourth-place team will not advance to either regional tournament.
Regardless of where Saskatchewan finishes at the Final Four, the Huskies will participate in the CIS West Regional in Saskatoon next weekend.
The four conference champions, the two winners of the regional tournaments, a wildcard selection, and host Calgary will make up the eight-team field at the 2012 CIS Championship, which begins on Mar. 17 and runs through Mar. 21.
Here’s a quick look at the teams vying for the Canada West title –
University of Regina Cougars (20-0 / 2-0)
Team Information
CIS ranking: No. 1
Canada West seed: No. 1
Quarterfinals: Defeated Winnipeg 2-0
Coach: Dave Taylor (6th season)
Key Players
• G Joanna Zalesiak – named Canada West’s MVP and a first-team all-star this season
• F Lindsay Ledingham – named a Canada West second-team all-star in each of the past two seasons
• G Michelle Clark – team’s scoring leader set school record with 57 three-pointers this year
University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (15-3 / 2-0)
Team Information
CIS ranking: No. 4
Canada West seed: No. 2
Quarterfinals: Defeated Alberta 2-0
Coach: Deb Huband (17th season)
Key Players
• P Zara Huntley – led UBC in rebounding and was named a Canada West first-team all-star
• G Kris Young – scored a team-high 15.3 points per game and was named a Canada West second-team all-star
• P Alexandra Vieweg – one of four UBC players to average double figures in scoring this season
University of Saskatchewan Huskies (15-5 / 2-0)
Team Information
CIS ranking: No. 3
Canada West seed: No. 3
Quarterfinals: Defeated Thompson Rivers 2-0
Coach: Lisa Thomaidis (14th season)
Key Players
• G Katie Miyazaki – Canada West Defensive Player of the Year and conference first-team all-star
• F Dalyce Emmerson – Canada West Rookie of the Year and conference second-team all-star
• G Kabree Howard – averages over 30 minutes per game and is third on the team in scoring
University of the Fraser Valley Cascades (12-6 / 2-0)
Team Information
CIS ranking: No. 8
Canada West seed: No. 4
Quarterfinals: Defeated Calgary 2-0
Coach: Al Tuchscherer (10th season)
Key Players
• G Tessa Klassen – conference second-team all-star and Fraser Valley’s leader in points and assists
• G Aieisha Luyken – second on the team during the conference schedule with 12.4 points per game
• P Nicole Wierks – Canada West’s Tracy MacLeod Award nominee


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