UNBC hoopsters earn playoff byes
They finished first on the final weekend, thanks to the help of another game in the Lower Mainland.
On the road for their final weekend of the PacWest 2011-12 regular season, the UNBC women’s basketball team defeated the Langara College Falcons 66-41 in Vancouver on Friday night. After that contest ended, the Northern Timberwolves discovered that the Capilano University Blues won their home game against the Vancouver Island University Mariners, edging the visitors 70-68 in North Vancouver.
The results left UNBC In control of its destiny. They secured first in the nine-team standings the following evening in Surrey, downing the Kwantlen Polytechnic Eagles 87-50.
The Timberwolves finished the season 15-1, while the Mariners ended up 14-2. Had the teams finished with identical win-loss records, Vancouver Island would’ve ended up first for outscoring UNBC in their two games.
In their latest head-to-head meeting, the Mariners outscored the Timberwolves 73-57 on Feb. 11 in Nanaimo. The first contest saw UNBC down Vancouver Island 60-52 on Dec. 2 at the Northern Sport Centre.
UNBC and Vancouver Island take the automatic berths into the semifinals of the PacWest provincial championships, March 1 to 3 at Capilano University. But since they finished first, the Timberwolves have no chance of seeing the third-place Blues (13-3) until the final.
“They’ve been playing very, very well lately and the fact that it’s in their gym, that’s a very tough game,” UNBC women’s basketball coach Loralyn Murdoch said.
The Timberwolves will play the winner of a game between the fourth-place Quest University Kermodes (9-7) and fifth-ranked Camosun College Chargers (7-9). The Blues meet No. 6 Kwantlen (6-10) in the other quarterfinal, with that winner advancing to play Vancouver Island. Capilano University hosts both the men’s and women’s draws. The quarterfinals are on Day 1 with the semifinals following on Day 2, the three-day event wrapping up with medal games on March 3.
Should UNBC meet Quest on March 2, the Timberwolves won’t be seeing Keremodes star rookie Katryn Sandblichler. Sandblichler, an international student from Germany, suffered a season-ending ACL injury earlier this month.
Regardless, Murdoch stresses that they aren’t looking past their first game.
“We’re either playing Quest or Camosun. Both are very well coached. Both are very tough teams.”
In discussing their final regular season game on Saturday, Murdoch said she wasn’t pleased with their effort early in the game. But she complimented her players for finishing strong, outscoring Kwantlen 39-16 in the second half.
Second-year forward Sarah Robin led the Timberwolves on Saturday night with 27 points.
In PacWest men’s basketball on the weekend, UNBC followed a 98-94 overtime victory over Langara with a 92-72 triumph over Kwantlen. At 13-3, the Timberwolves finished second in the nine-team standings, behind only Vancouver Island (15-1).
At provincials, UNBC will play the winner of third-ranked Camosun (10-6) and the sixth-seeded Douglas College Royals (7-9). The Mariners will meet the winner of No. 4 Langara (10-6) and No. 5 Capilano (9-7).