Their offence was as cold as ice on Friday. Seeking redemption, they turned the heat up the following evening.
Two basketball games as different as fire and water resulted in a weekend split for the UNBC Northern Timberwolves women’s basketball team against the Capilano University Blues at the Northern Sport Centre.
It wasn’t the doubleheader they would’ve preferred, a two-game set which began with a 58-49 victory for the Blues on Friday. However, a crucial 94-81 win on Saturday ensured the Timberwolves control of their own destiny in the battle for second place in the 10-team B.C. Colleges Athletic Association women’s division. The top two teams in the league receive first-round playoff byes at the six-team provincial championship tournament, March 5 to 7 at Capilano University in North Vancouver.
Record-wise, UNBC and Capilano are each 12-4. But the Timberwolves hold a four-point advantage in head-to-head points for and against, the deciding tiebreaker if the teams remain tied after the regular season ends this weekend.
UNBC wraps up its season with another two-game set at home, Friday and Saturday against the Columbia Bible College Bearcats. Capilano also closes out its 2008–09 regular season campaign with a pair of home games, Friday versus the Vancouver Island University Mariners and Saturday against the Camosun College Chargers.
At 15-1, the Chargers have clinched first place and the other automatic berth in the provincial semifinals.
“(Getting a playoff bye) is really important, but at the same time it’s important that we get better every day,” UNBC women’s basketball head coach Loralyn Murdoch said on Saturday. “We played well tonight. We still gave up 81 points, so definitely we’ve got to do a little bit of a better job there. Going from scoring 49 to 94 in a day, I mean it’s just like Jekyll and Hyde. Was this the same team? We have to find some consistency, some middle ground where every night we can step on the floor and have the same product.”
Friday’s 49-point effort was the lowest offensive production for the UNBC women this season. On Saturday, the team was two baskets shy of matching that output after 20 minutes, leading 45-38 at halftime.
Among the players who rose to the occasion on offence Saturday was second-year forward Kady Dandeneau, who led all scorers with 29 points.
“Nothing was going right for us,” said Dandeneau, referring to Friday’s loss. “That was one game where offensively we weren’t able to score and that’s never been a problem for us, so that was really, really difficult to work with. We came out today and we definitely did not have problems scoring so it was good.”
The foul line was friendly to the Timberwolves on Saturday, as they sunk 25 of 28 free throws.
“That was huge. We shot 89 per cent from the line which was huge,” Dandeneau said. “That is an amazing stat, and we have a team full of people who can score so just take it at them and we did.”
Three other UNBC members reached double figures in scoring. Fifth-year players Jaclyn Nazareno and Laurel Wallace each chipped in 14 points, while fourth-year guard Erika Johnson collected 11.
Rebekka Miltimore led the Blues’ scoring attack with 13 points. Three of her teammates finished with 12 points Pam Goddard, Carlee Babcock and Tasha Lorenzen.
“The last couple of games have been fairly rough,” Murdoch said. “We haven’t been as successful for 40 minutes. We’ve had our ups and downs, but today it was totally a team effort. Everyone had each other’s backs and that was what we focused on.”
While the Bearcats visit UNBC sporting the league’s worst record at 0-16, the Timberwolves are treating the series as a playoff tune-up. While this week marks Reading Break at UNBC, the Timberwolves will continue holding practices leading up to Friday’s game.
“Next weekend we’re going to take the two wins and we’re trying to get a first round bye for playoffs, and that’s huge because it’s hard to consistently play three games in a row and win, so it’s really important to get the day of rest and only play two games (at provincials),” Dandeneau said.