Dino lady cagers swept

By Paul Haavardsrud

Articles in this section have a long and dedicated history of searching for a silver lining while shamelessly ignoring the mass of dark storm clouds looming ominously on the horizon. For years dutiful writers have buried truth and objectivity in a sanguine pile of undeserved platitudes and blind optimism.

No more.

Plucky lyrics from days gone by tell us to ac-cen-tuate the positive, e-lim-inate the negative, and latch-on to the aYrmative, but now it is time for the truth.

The song was never that good.

Support is one thing, responsibility quite another. Self-appointed defenders of the faith have no place in these pages.

After dropping back-to-back games to the hated University of Alberta Pandas, thereby running their home losing streak to four-in-a-row, the women’s hoops squad needs to hear about it.

So let it be said.

The lady Dinos are a really, really good basketball team.
Granted, they have a few wrinkles to work out, but this is only January and that gives Head Coach Shawnee Harle plenty of time to heat up her iron.

The Dinos began the weekend in inauspicious fashion, falling behind 112 in the opening minutes of Friday’s game. After battling back to take a three-point cushion into the dressing room, the Dinos had the Jack Simpson faithful breathing easy and nestling in for another good half of basketball.

They’re still waiting.

U of A opened the final 20 minutes with a nasty run that saw the Dinos hitting everything but the bottom of the net. Despite an encouraging 15-point effort from rookie stand-out Laura Jablonski, Calgary fell 59 – 46 to the number one ranked Pandas.

The Dinos scoring woes continued Saturday, as they shot a depressing 27 per cent from the floor, coming up on the short side of the 57 – 47 final score.

As the Dinos’ considerable lack of long-range shooting dragged on throughout the weekend series, the seldom-spoken name of Cathy Payne could be heard springing to the lips of many onlookers. It appears Payne’s European vacation has been worse for the Dinos than Chevy Chase’s was for the Griswolds.

"I don’t think we’re missing anything or anyone," countered fifth-year forward Marianna Raguz. "We had a bad shooting weekend, it happens, and now its over."

More surprising than the poor shooting was the weekend suffered through by all-Canadian forward Leighann Doan. The normally reliablecheck thatthe generally outstanding Doan was held to six points on Friday and eight on Saturday. From a player who is able to sneeze and get more than 14 points, the series was baZing to say the least.

"I don’t really have any answers," explained Doan matter-of-factly. "If I knew what was wrong I would have fixed it during the games."

"I’m not spending too much time thinking about it," mentioned an unconcerned Harle. "Leighann sets the standard for our program in all aspects, but nowhere does it say she has to be superwoman. She had a bad weekend, but Michael Jordan has bad weekends too. You can’t hold good players down for long and when it’s crunch time you always know who is going to rise to the challenge."

A quick look at the facts reveals the sources of Harle’s nonchalance:

The Dinos’ only losses this season have been to teams ranked in the top three in the country.

The Dinos held U of A–ranked number one in the nation–to under 60 points on both nights.

On Saturday, Calgary had more shot attempts, 14 steals and a plus 9 turnover ratio.

Doan was basically non-existent and they only lost by 10. There are not many certainties in life, but you can bank on her playing better next time.

Shooting 27 per cent from the floor will not happen again either.
It is early January and the Dinos are getting better every weekend.

"We’re going through some growing pains and with that comes inconsistency," explained Harle. "But after playing as poorly as we did this weekend, the one thing I am absolutely certain about is that these teams are very beatable. I cannot wait to get another crack at them."

With a forgettable weekend against Alberta behind them,
a motivated Dinos club rolls on to Saskatchewan to take on the Huskies.

Bon chance, mes petits chiens.

You’ll need it.

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