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October 20, 2010

2010-11 Canada West women's basketball preview

Photo credit Josh Schaefer / Story courtesy of www.canadawest.org

ALBERTA PANDAS
CW Rank: #5

2009-10 CW Record: 15-5 (2nd, Prairie Division)
2010 CW Playoffs: 2-3
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: 1999

Key returnees: Nicole Clarke, Marisa Haylett, Alysia Rissling
Key additions: Jamie Norum, Arianne Sakundiak, Saskia Van Ginhoven, Sally Hillier, Kirsten Molesky
Key departures: Emily Bolduc

EDMONTON – The Pandas come into the 2010-11 season with five new faces in the lineup, including some much needed size in the middle.

Three of the rookies have experience playing for Edwards as well, as Jaime Norum, Arianne Sakundiak and Saskia Van Ginhoven, all played for Edwards at the 2009 Canada Summer Games. Edwards was the bench boss for Team Alberta, which eventually went on to win the gold medal, defeating Team B.C. Norum was Team Alberta’s starting guard that summer, and scored seven points and nine assists in the championship final. The 5’8” High River, AB, high school grad was also invited to tryout for Canada’s National Junior team along with Sakundiak this past summer.

The vaunted Alberta depth will be put to the test this season, however, as gone from the program is veteran Emily Bolduc, while Caitlin Stiksma and sophomores Megan Wickstrom and Kendra Asleson are all out due to injuries.

Returning players Nicole Clarke, Marisa Haylett, Alysia Rissling, Katie Arbuthnot, and Anneka Bakker make up the core of the starting crew for Alberta, while Georgia Popovici is also back, and will be expected to help the Pandas find success this season.

Golden Bears & Pandas Athletics

BRANDON BOBCATS
CW Rank: #13

2009-10 CW Record: 3-17 (8th, Prairie)
2010 CW Playoffs: N/A
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A

Key returnees: Sarah Lopes, Jayla Bousquet, Nicisha Johnson, Amanda Fortin
Key additions: Jaynell Gillett, Christen McLeod, Katie Van de Sype
Key departure: Melanie Thompson

BRANDON - Size and speed are the focus of the Brandon Bobcats. Head Coach Jaime Taggart has put together a good mix of experience and youth with a core of fourth and fifth year players, three new recruits, and a wealth of knowledge in a new assistant coach and mentor.

Taggart will be turning to fifth-year guard Sarah Lopes to log a lot of playing time this year. Lopes, a native of Brandon, is entering her final year of eligibility. Lopes has missed only four games in her four-year Canada West career thus far.

Taggart will also be relying on team captains Amanda Fortin and Jayla Bousquet. Fortin, a fourth-year guard and two-time Academic All-Canadian and CW Top-8 nominee, and Bousquet, a fifth-year vet who led the team in scoring the past two seasons, both bring a tireless work ethic to the Bobcats.

Newcomers to this year’s crew include Jaynell Gillett of Bonnyville, Alberta, Christen McLeod of Edmonton, Alberta and Kelowna, BC native Katie Van de Sype.

Bobcats Athletics

UBC THUNDERBIRDS
CW Rank: #4

2009-10 CW Record: 11-7 (3rd, Pacific Division)
2010 CW Playoffs: 1-2
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: 2008
Last CIS Title: 2008

Key returnees: Lia St. Pierre, Zara Huntley, Devan Lisson, Alex Vieweg
Key additions: Kris Young, Zana Williams
Key departure: Candace Morisset

VANCOUVER - After an up-and-down regular season, the Thunderbirds narrowly missed out on a trip to the Canada West Final Four last year as they were bounced from the playoffs by a two-point loss to Alberta in the deciding game of their divisional series.

Heading up this experienced group is fifth-year Devan Lisson who led the team in minutes played last year and will see a lot of court time again this season as team captain. She made a team-high 34 three-pointers last year while shooting .400 from beyond the arc.

Fourth-years Zara Huntley and Alex Vieweg will also be important to any T-Bird success this season. Huntley led the 'Birds with 13.7 points-per-game last year, and was fifth in the league with 7.8 rebounds while Vieweg was third on the team with 12.6 points-per-game and the combo forward led all starters with a .514 shooting percentage.

The T-Birds still have some dangerous young players as well, including Canada West All-Star guard Lia St. Pierre, who is entering her third season with the blue and gold. Freshman Kris Young, the B.C. senior girls Triple-A Tournament MVP, is a new face that appears primed for a great CIS career.

Thunderbirds Athletics

CALGARY DINOS
CW Rank: #6

2009-10 CW Record: 8-12 (6th, Prairie)
2010 CW Playoffs: NéA
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: 2001
Last CIS Title: 1989

Key returnees: Ashley Hill, Megan Lang, Tamara Jarrett
Key additions: Lawrie Saunders, Kiersten Hilton, Sarah Allison
Key departures: none

CALGARY – Calgary will host the 2012 CIS Women’s Basketball Championship in the Jack Simpson Gym. Already guaranteed a spot at the dance next year, Shawnee Harle would like to see her charges crash the party a year early.

The lone fifth-year senior on the squad is Ashley Hill, the team’s leading scorer for the past three seasons who currently sits eighth on the school’s all-time scoring list. She’s joined by post Alex Cole and guards Tamara Jarrett and Megan Lang as the core of a team that has had an offence-first mentality – Calgary was second in the conference in scoring last season behind the now-departed national champion Simon Fraser Clan.

There are five new players on the roster in 2010-11, and every one of them has seen significant playing time in the Dinos’ two pre-season tournaments, where they’ve posted a 4-2 record. Harle’s trademark has been to play her bench 12 deep, and that trend will continue as the Dinos try to make every game a track meet and wear down their opponents. The most intriguing addition is Lawrie Saunders, a 6-foot-3 forward out of tiny Alix, Alta.

Calgary native Kiersten Hilton is solid on the glass, while White Rock, B.C.’s Sarah Allison rounds out the recruiting class with her shooter’s mentality.

Dinos Athletics

FRASER VALLEY CASCADES
CW Rank: #9

2009-10 CW Record: 2-16 (6th, Pacific)
2010 CW Playoffs: N/A
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A

Key returnees: Alexa McCarthy, Courtney Bartel, Alyssa Gaukel
Key additions: Tessa Klassen, Sarah Wierks
Key departure: Jane Meadwell

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - The Fraser Valley Cascades look to move closer to a Canada West post-season berth in 2010-11.

Led by head coach Al Tuchscherer, in his 9th season, at the helm of the program, Al and his coaching staff will have a great bunch of young student-athletes to work with this coming regular season.

Coach Tuchscherer is looking to second year guard Alexa McCarthy, a Kinesiology major from Chilliwack, B.C. and fourth-year transfer Tessa Klassen, a guard from Winnipeg, majoring in Arts, to add their experience to the young Cascades basketball program as they go through the very competitive Canada West schedule.

McCarthy who missed the entire 09-10 regular season with an injury and Klassen who comes over from the University of Manitoba give the Cascades a more experienced back court and with the addition of first-year player Sarah Wierks, a graduate of Chilliwack Secondary gives the Cascades forwards a new look.

Cascades Athletics

LETHBRIDGE PRONGHORNS
CW Rank: #8

2009-10 CW Record: 8-12 (5th, Prairie)
2010 CW Playoffs: 0-2
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: 1993
Last CIS Title: N/A

Key returnees: Lauren Taal, Kenzie Sheen-Balderson, Becky Heninger, Hannah Blanchette
Key additions: Kim Veldman, Mickenzie Czech, Juhee Thompson, Cassidy Taal, Dani Sheen
Key departure: Stephanie Price

LETHBRIDGE - After making their first post-season appearance in seven seasons the Pronghorns will look to stay in the post season mix in the always tough Canada West conference.

With eight returnees from last season’s 8-12 team, the Horns will be loaded with experience but have a large hole to fill after point guard Stephanie Price choose not to return. She was the conference leader in assists and 4th leading scorer with 15.5 points.

Fourth-year guard Lauren Taal, who was second in Horns scoring last season with 14.7 points returns and will be counted on to take another step forward. Seniors Becky Heninger and Kenzie Sheen-Balderson along with Hannah Blanchette and Morgan Cross will have to pick up the slack with the departure of Price.

The addition of post Kim Veldman provides the Horns with a true big presence in the paint. In the toughest conference in the CIS, the top teams in Canada West all have big posts under the basket, with multiple players over the six foot mark and the 6’2” post Veldman will be a welcome addition to the Horns front court. The two-time Deep South 2A MVP and Lethbridge native has the ability to step out offensively and to change opponents’ shots in the paint with her length.

Pronghorns Athletics

MANITOBA BISONS
CW Rank: #10

2009-10 CW Record: 8-12 (7th, Prairie)
2010 CW Playoffs: N/A
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: 1997

Key returnees: Kayla Klassen, Lauren Mortier and Mubo Ilelaboye
Key additions: Sheree Carmona-Galdamez, Stephanie Gill, Carlene Ilago, Samantha Pyke, Robyn Eyer, Allison Balasko
Key departures: Michele Hynes and Kait Flett

WINNIPEG - The Bisons will have a very young group with almost half the team, with six rookies. The team will also have a solid mix of veteran presence coupled with the youth. Kayla Klassen is the only senior, with two fourth-year players, two players in their junior season and two sophomores.

Manitoba style of play will be an aggressive game to maximize their strength in running and shooting from the outside plus their strong work ethic on both ends of the court. Klassen finished tied for first on the team and 22nd in Canada West scoring with 12.1 points per game, tied for first in 3-points made in Canada West at 2.6 per game, tenth in conference steals at 2.3 avg. and tops on team and 14th in Canada West in 3-point shooting at 34.5% in the 2009-10 season. Forward Lauren Mortier was fifth in team scoring with a 7.3 avg., fourth in team with 26 steals and third on the Bisons in free throws at 70.7% last season. Forward Mubo Ilelaboye was fourth in team scoring with a 11.3 avg., first on the team in field goal percentage at 44.7%, tied for second on team in rebounds at 5.1 per game and played over 26 minutes per game in 2009-10 season.

Along with the three captains, returning players who will log more minutes and start this year consists of third year point guard Whitney Lodge-Zaparnick (13.2 minutes per game; 3.1 ppg last season); third year forward Colleen Dorrian (7.9 minutes per game; 1.5 ppg last season); second year forward Vanessa De Vries (9.7 minutes per game; 1.4 ppg last season) and second year guard Deanna Hiebert.

Six newcomers arrive onto the Bison lineup this year, including 5’5” guard Sheree Carmona-Galdamez from Kelvin High School; 5’7” guard Stephanie Gill from Byrne Creek Secondary in B.C.; 5’9” forward Carlene Ilago from Dakota Collegiate; 6’0” forward Samantha Pyke also from Byrne Creek Secondary in B.C.; 5’6” guard Robyn Eyer comes from Sisler High School and 6’0” forward Allison Balasko out of Collège Jeanne-Sauvé.

Bisons Athletics

REGINA COUGARS
CW Rank: #1

2009-10 CW Record: 16-4 (1st, Prairie)
2010 CW Playoffs: 3-1 (2nd)
2010 CIS Tournament: 1-2 (4th)
Last CW Title: 2004
Last CIS Title: 2001

Key returnees: Brittany Read, Joanna Zalesiak
Key additions: Anne Mercer, Carly Graham
Key departures: Rebecca Schmidt, Carmen Stewart, Stacey Walker

REGINA - Regina loses three fifth-year players from last season’s roster, but is aiming for a fourth consecutive appearance at the CIS championship.

Fourth-year post Brittany Read, who was named a First-Team All-Star last season, is the team’s top returning player but is expected to miss the first few games of the season due to an injury. Read was the only player to start all 20 conference games for the Cougars last season and led the team in both points (14.4) and rebounds (9.8) per game.

Joanna Zalesiak will be back to run the point this year. In her first year in a Cougar uniform last season, the dynamic third-year guard averaged 14.3 points per game, dished out 87 assists during the Canada West schedule, and was named a Second Team All-Star. Third-year forward Lindsay Ledingham stepped into a starting role beginning at the midway point of the conference schedule and is expected to get big minutes again this season. Fifth-year guard Gabrielle Gheyssen, who has been one of the team’s most consistent perimeter threats over her four seasons with the Cougars, will start at shooting guard.

Anne Mercer, a transfer from Lethbridge College who averaged 14.2 points per game and helped the Kodiaks to a 19-6 record last season, is expected to start at power forward. Guard Carly Graham, a quality outside shooter who transferred from Simon Fraser, should also see plenty of minutes off the bench along with third-year guard Danielle Schmidt and second-year forward Megan Chamberlin.

Cougars Athletics

SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES
CW Rank: #2

2009-10 CW Record: 14-6 (3rd, Prairie)
2010 CW Playoffs: 3-1 (3rd)
2010 CIS Tournament: 2-1 (3rd)
Last CW Title: 2006
Last CIS Title: N/A

Key returnees: Kim Tulloch, Jill Humbert, Jana Spindler, Marci Kiselyk
Key additions: Katie Miyazaki, Trisha Carriere, Kabree Howard
Key departures: Lindsay DeGroot, Alicia Wilson

SASKATOON - After making history in 2009-10 with the program’s first-ever CIS medal, the Saskatchewan Huskies look to stay consistent as a top contender in the country.

Armed with five fifth-year athletes and a handful of impressive recruits, the Huskies look to top their CIS bronze medal earned in 2009-10.

Returning to the Huskies starting lineup will be CIS tournament all-star and starting point guard Jill Humbert, 2008-09 First Team All-Canadian guard Kim Tulloch, as well as forwards Jana Spindler and Marci Kiselyk. The four fifth-year athletes played in all 20 games for the Huskies last season. Tulloch was the leader among them averaging 12 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per game. Humbert finished the season averaging 10 points per game and had 120 assists. Kiselyk and Spindler added 5.5 points per game and 8.3 points per game respectively. Also returning to the Huskies will be forward Erica Gavel and guards Mary Hipperson, Amy Lackie and Lauren Whyte.

Adding to the strong base will be 2009-10 CIS Defensive Player of the Year Katie Miyazaki. Miyazaki spent the last three seasons with the Simon Fraser University Clan, winning the CIS championship in 2009 and 2010.

Huskies Athletics

THOMPSON RIVERS WOLFPACK
CW Rank: #11

2009-10 CW Record 3-15 (5th, Pacific)
2010 CW Playoffs: N/A
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A

Key returnees: Diane Schuetze, Kaitlyn Widsten, Jen Ju
Key additions: Jorri Duxbury, Morgan Wingate, Telina Chomey
Key departures: Kali Ellis, Beth McNeill

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - The WolfPack women should be one of the real ‘dark horses’ in the Canada West this year. Head coach Scott Reeves has added pieces over the past couple years that has no rounded out his roster, which has improved over the last five years. His key recruiting class (which includes post Diane Schuetze (Vernon, B.C.), along with forwards Tracy Kocs and Lindsay Dekoff (Port Moody,BC and Chilliwack, B.C., respectively) ) are starting to emerge as leaders on the court.

The WolfPack could two strong guards in fourth-year Kaitlyn Widsten (Tswwassen, BC) and Jen Ju (3rd year, Vancouver). The team’s lone fifth-year player: forward Kayla Forsyth (Vernon, BC) is poised to have a break out year after a strong exhibition campaign.

Reeves has added three new faces to his lineup: high school recruit Jorri Duxbury (1st year, guard, Salmon Arm, B.C.), Telina Chomey (2nd year, guard North Battleford, SK via Grande Prairie Regional College) and Morgan Wingate (1st year guard, Saskatoon, via red-shirt with Saskatchewan).

WolfPack Athletics

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS
2010 CW Rank: #12

2009-10 CW Record: 5-13 (4th, Pacific)
2009-10 CW Tournament: N/A
2009-10 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A

Key returnees: Emily Knauff, Stephanie Carkner, Corina Reimer, Tiffany Olsen, Keely Goertzen
Key additions: Rochelle Thoutenhoofd, Rachelle Briscoe, Janelle Traber, Chelsey Olsen
Key departures: Lauren Doubroff, Amanda Knauff

LANGLEY, B.C. –There are many things new to the Spartans: they will be led by first year coach Cheryl Jean-Paul, will feature a team with a number of newcomers, will participate in a conference that does not require them to battle with perennial championship contender Simon Fraser University, will have a new fully interlocking schedule and a will have a new national championship format to strive for. All of which means that optimism and motivation is high on the Langley, B.C. campus.

Jean-Paul’s first recruiting class features three veteran transfers and one rookie in an effort to build the Spartans into a squad that can crack the post season line-up for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

New to the program are: transfers: 5’8” fourth year guard Rochelle Thoutenhoofd  from Mount Royal College, 6’2” third year forward Rachelle Briscoe from UBC-Okanagan and 5’9” second year guard Janelle Traber from the University of Lethbridge and first year 5’8” guard Chelsey Olsen from Mark R. Isfeld in Fanny Bay, B.C.

The newcomers will join the three returning starters, 5’’4” point guard Stephanie Carkner, guard Emily Knauff and post Corina Reimer from last year’s 5-13 squad.

Spartans Athletics

VICTORIA VIKES
CW Rank: #3

2009-10 CW Record: 14-4, 2nd, Pacific)
2010 CW Playoffs: 0-2
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: 2000
Last CIS Title: 2003

Key returnees: Kayla Dykstra, Debbie Yeboah, Jane Anholt, Vanessa Forstbauer
Key additions: Jessica Renfrew, Cassandra, Jordyn Newman, Zoey Haramboure
Key departures: none

VICTORIA - The Victoria Vikes’ bid to make their first national championship appearance since 2002 begins this weekend at McKinnon Gym when the Canada West season tips off.

There is plenty of optimism heading into the 2010-11 Canada West season for CIS Coach of the Year Brian Cheng and the Vikes. Former CIS Player of the Year Kayla Dykstra leads a group of savvy veterans determined to atone for back-to-back first-round playoff exits, while sophomore Debbie Yeboah continues to evolve into one of the league's preeminent scoring threats.

Last year’s All-Star tandem of Dykstra and Yeboah both ranked in the league's top 10 in scoring, averaging 15.3 and 14.8 points per game respectively and accounted for nearly half of the Vikes’ total offence. Dykstra, who earned MVP honours in 2008-09, is one of three Vikes mainstays who will play out their final seasons of eligibility in 2010-11. Guard Jane Anholt and forward Vanessa Forstbauer are key defenders who helped the Vikes rank amongst the league's top defensive units the past two campaigns.

New to the lineup are Claremont’s Jessica Renfrew and Penticton’s Cassandra Goodis, both B.C. High School All-Stars last year who have logged plenty of mileage on the Provincial team. Meanwhile, Elgin Park’s Jordyn Newman and Brookswood’s Zoey Haramboure are two promising prep players who signed early commitments, but will not hit the hardcourt until the 2011-12 campaign.

Vikes Athletics

WINNIPEG WESMEN
CW Rank: #7

2009-10 CW Record: 10-10 (4th, Prairie)
2010 CW Playoffs: 0-2
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CW Title: 2000
Last CIS Title: 1995

Key returnees: Caitlin Gooch, Alex MacIver, Kaitlin Rempel, Amy Ogidan, Mackenzie Prasek
Key additions: Stephanie Kleysen, Ashleigh Chichlowski, Britley Wermie, Yael Kaplan
Key departures: Randie Gibson, Jessica Stromberg

WINNIPEG - Head coach Tanya McKay entering her 15th season with the Winnipeg Wesmen has assembled a group of players with a variety of playing experience.

The Wesmen will no doubt be led by fifth-year guard Caitlin Gooch. Gooch was named an All-Star for the third consecutive year in 2009-2010. She led the team averaging 16.1 ppg and will be a leader on the team this season. Fifth-year forwards Alex MacIver (6’5”) and Kaitlin Rempel (6’0”) provides size up front.

Amy Ogidan, entering her fourth season was second in team scoring (13.2 ppg) and rebounds (7.0 rpg). Ogidan will be counted on to provide both scoring and rebounds for the team. Also entering her fourth season is guard Mackenzie Prasek who saw both her playing time (24.7 mpg) and points (7.1 ppg) increase last season.

A trio of second-year players Adele and Danielle Baril along with Alyssa Grant will provide quality minutes off the bench. Five new faces will join the team this season, including the duo of Stephanie Kleysen and Ashleigh Chichlowski. The pair played key roles in leading Vincent Massey to their second consecutive AAAA HS Girl’s Basketball Championship. Kleysen averaged 19.0 ppg while Chichlowski finished with 17.0 ppg for the Trojans. Britley Wermie (Vincent Massey), Yael Kaplan (Gray Academy) and Angella Griffith (a transfer from the University of Toronto) round out the roster.

Wesmen Athletics

About Canada West Universities Athletic Association
Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), winning at least 10 CIS national titles every year since 1997-98. Comprised of 14 schools, from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada West produces numerous major award winners and Academic All-Canadian student-athletes each year, with many going on to athletic success around the globe in pro leagues or events such as the Olympics, Paralympics or Universiade Games.

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