B-ball women take aim

By Kevin Rothbauer

Lock Stock and Two Smokin’ Barrels showed us all what can happen when a crew of novice denizens attempts to pull off a heist. Sure, they’re pretty much successful, but a lot of people get hurt in the process.

The Dinos women’s basketball team is a similarly inexperienced group trying for a heist of its own–grabbing respect in the tough Canada West Conference. Hopefully, they can do it without the mess created by Eddy et al.

“It’s the youngest team I’ve had in nine years coaching here,” admits Head Coach Shawnee Harle. “Of the 15 players, ten are in their first or second year. Having said that, we’re not lowering our expectations simply because we’re inexperienced. It’s too easy to use that as an excuse.”

Harle’s determination to succeed this season should strike fear into the hearts of her opponents, even if the unfamiliar names in the program may not.

“Our expectations are very simple: to compete hard every time we step on the floor. We’re not going to get caught up in wins and losses. We’re going to let our unity, tenaciousness and discipline take care of our wins and losses.”

Four valuable players are absent from last year’s team; guards Jennifer Goldade and Natalie Hudec played out their eligibility, and post Laura Jablonski and guard Jen Elford elected not to return.

Despite those losses, Harle claims the team “isn’t missing a beat.” Two new players, Lindsay Maundrell, out of high school in Salmon Arm, and Shari Jonker, also out of Salmon Arm via Lethbridge Community College are expected to contribute, but the real pressure is on the veterans.

“The people that are going to carry the team are the returning players,” states Harle. “They’re very fit. They’re very committed. They’re the ones that are going to take us to the promised land.”

Leading the Dinos’ exodus from the land of disappointment are the captains, Anna Bekkering and Julie Smulders. Forward Bekkering is the lone fifth-year Dino and Smulders is a former University of British Columbia Thunderbird who spent last season as a redshirt with the Dinos. Also expected to make strong contributions are the post players.

“We have Cory Bekkering back. She missed last season with ACL surgery. She and Jessica Foltinek are both going to be forces to contend with in the paint.”

Harle will put her new lineup to the test in a non-conference tournament at the University of Alberta on Oct. 18-20 against the host Pandas, the University of Victoria Vikes, and the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers. The Pandas and Vikes are always tough in conference play, so that will be a solid test for the young Dinos. Canada West is a tough conference to play in, but in the past, the

U of C has demonstrated its ability to rise up with the top teams.

Can this year’s edition compete with the U of As and UVics in the conference?

“Absolutely,” Harle confirms. “The question is… can they compete with us?’”


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