Photo credit Michael P. Hall / By Andy Watson
HAMILTON (CIS) - The second-seeded Windsor Lancers advanced to the first CIS women’s basketball final in team history thanks to an 80-62 win over the No. 3 Saskatchewan Huskies in the first semifinal at the 2010 national championship at McMaster University’s Burridge Gymnasium, on Saturday night.
Championship web site (complete stats): http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wbkb
With the victory, the OUA champion Lancers will battle for the bronze Baby trophy on Sunday at 3 p.m. against the winner of tonight’s duel between defending champion Simon Fraser and Regina.
Windsor is the first Ontario team to play for the Bronze Baby since York lost to Manitoba 73-52 in the 1997 championship game in Thunder Bay, Ont. The last OUA squad to win the CIS banner was Laurentian, 79-72 winners over Regina in 1991 in Ste. Foy, Que.
The last three national finals have featured two Canada West teams, and the last non-Canada West school to make the final was Cape Breton in 2006, 56-53 losers to UBC.
“To play for the Bronze Baby, it’s the dream of every coach, every player. This is what we want,” said Lancers head coach Chantal Vallée, in her fifth season at the helm. “Saskatchewan came out and played with a lot of poise to start. But our girls came out and were very focussed."
Windsor native Bojana Kovacevic was a sparkplug for the Lancers with a strong two-way game, scoring 13 points and adding seven rebounds. In all, six Lancers registered in double-digit scoring.
Jessica Clemencon, the six-foot-three CIS rookie of the year from St. Rambert, France, led Windsor with 16 points and eight rebounds, while rookie point guard and Lancer player of the game Miah-Marie Langlois, also from Windsor, added 15 points off the bench.
Six-foot-five post Iva Peklova of Prague registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Shavaun Reaney of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Emily Abbott of Calgary scored 12 and 11, respectively.
Fourth-year guard Kim Tulloch of Regina was named the Huskies game MVP, netting 14 points, while former McMaster Marauder and three-time all-Canadian Lindsay DeGroot of Thedford, Ont., led Saskatchewan with a double-double with 17 points and 12 boards.
It is the second straight year the Lancers have ended Saskatchewan’s championship hopes after a 63-55 come-from-behind win in the 2009 quarter-final. The Huskies will play for the first national medal in team history in Sunday’s third-place game at noon.
“The girls are upset right now, and hopefully we can regroup and focus for tomorrow,” said Huskies head coach Lisa Thomaidis. “This is a great opportunity for our program. To win a national medal would be a great way to end the season.”
The teams opened up in a see-saw battle, exchanging baskets and enjoying fluid play, and shooting over 42% each.
Windsor led 21-18 after the first quarter. But when they needed to regain momentum, the Lancers would put together runs with aggressive half-court defence and excellent outside shooting.
In a key game-changing play early in the second quarter, Kovacevic, a sophomore nursing student, drained a three and then stole the ball on defence, diving through the air to save it from going out of bounds. She paid the price by running into the scorer’s table while dishing it to Clemençon for an easy score to give Windsor an eight-point lead.
“It was huge,” Kovacevic said of the play. “We wanted it more. That's why I did that. We came here to win and we just wanted it so badly. It feels great.”
Rookie Langlois was key scoring 10 of her team’s 38 points in 10 minutes of play to give the Lancers a 14-point cushion midway through the second quarter.
“For her (Langlois) to get that kind of experience and play so well in a national semifinal, it was huge for us,” said Vallée. “All eight of our players played extremely well. I am pleased.”
Windsor led 42-33 at the half and scored the first basket after the break, and never looked back, leading by as much as 22 points in the game.
The Lancers held the Huskies scoreless for almost five minutes to close the third and start the fourth quarter, playing a strong defensive game.
“It was a big difference,” Thomaidis said of the scoring drought. “Another factor was too often we gave them rebounds and they scored on their second chances. And we left too many of their shooters wide open.”
The Huskies were outscored 15-7 on second-chance points.
Points: Jessica Clemençon (16), Miah-Marie Langlois (15), Bojana Kovacevic (13)
Rebounds: Ika Peklova (10), Jessica Clemençon (8)
Assists: Emily Abbott (5), Shavaun Reaney (4)
Russell Athletics player of the game: Miah-Marie Langlois
Points: Lindsay DeGroot (17), Jill Humbert (16), Kim Tulloch (14)
Rebounds: Lindsay DeGroot (12), Jana Spindler (7)
Assists: Jill Humbert (5)
Russell Athletics player of the game: Kim Tulloch
SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Friday, March 12
Quarter-final #1: Windsor 64, Ottawa 46
Quarter-final #2: Saskatchewan 70, Cape Breton 54
Quarter-final #3: Simon Fraser 94, McMaster 76
Quarter-final #4: Regina 69, Laval 54
Saturday, March 13
Consolation #1: Cape Breton 65, Ottawa 59
Consolation #2: Laval 66, McMaster 58
Semifinal #1: Windsor 82, Saskatchewan 60
20:00 Semifinal #2: No. 1 Simon Fraser vs. No. 4 Regina (Cable 14 & SSN Canada)
Sunday, March 14
10:00 5th place: No. 5 Laval vs. No. 6 Cape Breton
12:00 Bronze medal: No. 3 Saskatchewan vs. TBD (Cable 14 & SSN Canada)
15:00 Championship final: No. 2 Windsor vs. TBD (TSN2)