Women hoopsters make early exit

By Corinna Callsen

Take your hat’s off to the women’s basketball team. The season has been a tough battle throughout, and it was topped by a fight against the Teletubbies from Edmonton.

Head Coach Shawnee Harle started into the season hoping for a repeat of the 2000/01 season, where the girls took home the bronze medal at nationals.

"We are going to be good," said the coach said at the beginning of the season. She was right. Looking at her team, the ranks had definitely taken on a new dimension. A bunch of rookies and a missing veteran caught the eye of the careful observer this year. After Leighann Doan’s graduation, the superstar was gone and the team had to adjust to the new situation. With experienced players and talented rookies the Dinos were prepared to take on the teams of the Canada West division once again.

During the 2001/02 season, the hoopsters stifled some good teams. They demonstrated their athletic and tactical abilities at the Jack and on the road, only losing two-game series to Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta.

"We had a good year and defeated a lot of very good teams," said the content fifth-year guard Jennifer Goldade of the squad’s solid season.

They finished the regular season ranked in the top ten and headed into the playoffs with a first-round matchup with U of A. It was then when Anna Bekkering expressed the team’s confidence to make it to nationals. So what the heck happened?

Ten minutes into Friday’s first frame the Pandas had already pulled out to a 10 point lead. A bad omen? Who knows. At the break the Dinos, cheered on by parents and friends, caught up and only trailed by a point.

After halftime, the game remained close, but the Pandas had one hell of a defence and made scoring more than difficult for the Dinos. Game one ended 70–64 for Alberta. Saturday was a different story. Calgary dominated the game and even though it was as tight as Friday’s battle, the girls took it home 56–51.

"It all narrowed down to the game on Sunday," said Goldade. "And none of us underestimated U of A."

But that’s when the lovable Pandas turned into a bunch of mean, fast Teletubbies. Frustration mounted as some questionable calls from the referees in favour of U of A prompted Coach Harle to yell "This sucks!" Momentum built as the Pandas blocked every attempt by the Dinos to score and hit every bucket themselves.

"They outplayed us and we didn’t shoot the ball at all," said Bekkering.

"Sometimes I looked at my team and thought that we ran out of gas," said Goldade. "We didn’t have enough energy and they were flying."

"We gave it all we had but the Pandas were mentally stronger and were hitting their shots," agreed guard Natalie Hudec.

The third game of the playoffs ended 60–44 for the Pandas.

All in all, the basketball girls agree that they had a very good year.

"It doesn’t sound good that we lost in the quarterfinals but we had a good year and beat a lot of good teams," said Goldade.

"The girls on the team are amazing and we had a lot of fun," she said.

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