Lady ballers leave opponents bawling

By Sean Nyilassy

Like Clark Kent following that shiny green thing, the Dinos women’s basketball team traveled north Oct. 6-7. But they weren’t following a shiny green thing; they were in search of basketball greatness and only had to go as far as Edmonton to find it.

The Dinos cleaned up at the University of Alberta Pandas Hoopfest pre-season tournament in matches against the Concordia University Stingers and the Fraser Valley College Cascades. The wins prove the very different Dinos’ lineup is already capable of dominating the court.

Although according to Dinos Head Coach Shawnee Harle, the Stingers and Cascades are “not even in the same galaxy” as the Canada West regulars, the games gave our ladies, who haven’t played much together, some much needed court time.

“I think it was more of a good confidence building weekend,” new Dino Michelle Willson explained.

And build confidence it should. If baskets were like money in the first game, interest rates must be real low because the Dinos took out a huge loan, slamming 92 points on the board. The Stingers, on the other hand, must have some credit problems. They only managed to scrounge 50 points out of the match.

The Dinos started their collection early, springing to a 12-2 lead before the Stingers could finish tying their shoelaces together. The Dinos defense deserves as much credit as the Stingers lack of offense though, forcing 44 turnovers for the game.

The deadly Tanya Hautala should make regular guest appearances on Oz, with seven steals to her name. She also stole Player of the Game honours for adding a game-high 19 points to her basketball shopping spree.

Newcomers Willson and Courtney Coyle made their first splashes as well, drenching the Stingers with 19 and 16 points respectively. All this leaves Concordia will be left with the sensation you’d get from cleaning an amputated limb with a mixture of alcohol, lemon juice and salt before cauterising it.

All of the Dinos were hitting the hoop, with the team cashing in on 49 per cent of their attempted field goals and 41 per cent of three-pointers.

The Cascades didn’t provide much more of a challenge, scoring a few more points on the Dinos while letting through a few less. The Dinos teased the Cascades in the first half–allowing them a 15-point comeback dream at the break–before the waterfall of baskets came in the second half.

“We’re just starting to understand the shape of the team,” commented Lindsay Maundrell. “We’re figuring out what we’re good at.”

The Dinos ended up eroding the Cascades away 89-57. Lindsay Maundrell was the Player de la Match with 24 points and four steals. Hautala continued to satisfy her ballooning klepto desires with nine steals, while still managing 15 points. Willson proved she was born to rebound, hauling down a game-high 10 boards.

Another land-mark made during the game was the inclusion of each Dinos player on the score sheet. If every player continues to contribute, the strong west may be crushed in the Dinosaurs’ claws.

“One of our strengths this year that we didn’t have last year is balanced scoring,” Harle commented, pointing out that although every player won’t score in a single game often, points will come from a broader base this year.

Harle also felt the team’s defense was incredible–understandable with 42 and 32 point margins.

“The other team didn’t even have time to breath, let alone think,” she smiled.

The true test begins in British Columbia with a match against the defending national champion Simon Fraser University Clan Fri., Oct. 14 followed by a bout with the Trinity Western University Spartans Sat., Oct. 15.

While there are doubts as to how the team will perform against a stronger team that might beat their pressure defense, Harle feels her team is up to the challenge of taking on SFU.

“They’d better bring their A-game,” she promised.

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