By Ashton Chugh
The Dinos played host to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in Canada West basketball action on Jan 17–18. The women’s team split their home-and-home series with the Huskies, while the men’s team were swept 0–2.
Game one saw the Huskies defeat the women’s Dinos 73–58. The loss ended the Dinos 10 game winning streak, and was only their third loss in conference play. Fifth-year guard Tamara Jarrett scored a team-high 12 points, while Ashley Hirons and Kristie Shiels chipped in with 11 points each. Forward Dalyce Emmerson stuffed the stats sheet for the Huskies, scoring 31 points and pulling down 14 rebounds.
The Dinos got their revenge in game two by ending the Huskies’s eight-game win streak by a score of 58–48. Jarrett led the way for the Dinos with 20 points, and also came up with three key steals.
“I thrive off my defence,” said Jarrett of her play. “Being up on the ball and getting defensive stops allowed me to be more free on offence. I love being able to push the tempo and cause chaos, and I was able to score off that.”
The Dinos got off to a big first quarter lead by a score of 20–9 and never looked back. Their largest lead came midway through the third quarter when they lead by 18 points.
Saturday’s win for the Dinos came against a key divisional rival, which coach Damien Jennings feels is important for earning the respect of the Dinos faithful.
“We want to impress the crowd,” said Jennings. “We love the fact that the Dinos support is growing and growing. We want to impress the fans with our performance, and if they turn into wins, that’s even better.”
The Dinos currently sit at 11–3, which is good for second place in the prairie division and only two points behind the division-leading University of Alberta Golden bears, University of Regina Cougars and University of Saskatchewan Huskies, who all currently sit in a three way tie for first place.
On the men’s side, the Dinos fell 96–94 to the Huskies, who were led by a 27-point performance from reigning Canada West most valuable player Stephon Lamar in game one. Despite leading the Huskies in every major statistical category, the Dinos could not capitalize in the clutch, as Lamar drilled the game-winning basket with only seconds to go.
The Huskies completed their sweep of the Dinos in game two by a score of 96–83. The loss was the fifth straight for the reeling Dinos. Josh Owen-Thomas had a season-best 21 points on an efficient 8–12 shooting, and also grabbed seven rebounds on the night.
“A lot of the time I think I got lucky,” said Owen-Thomas. “I was in the right place at the right time and got some good passes. I was getting some pretty easy looks, and they were going in tonight.”
The Huskies started the game on a 10–3 run and never relinquished their lead. The Dinos would pull to within three points by the end of the first half, yet the Huskies would come out blazing in the third quarter, outscoring the Dinos 38–24.
“In the third quarter they didn’t miss anything,” said Dinos coach Dan Vanhooren. “They had a balanced attack with all that shooting that was going on. We were running around like chickens with our heads cut off.”
The Huskies would lead by as much as 22 points in the third quarter. The Huskies wouldn’t just dominate on the scoring end, but they also out-rebounded the Dinos by a margin of 40–29, which Vanhooren felt was key in the Dinos’ loss.
“As far as stats today, the only thing that is reflective of a 13 point loss is the rebounding,” said Vanhooren. “We only gave up three offensive rebounds in the second half — probably because they didn’t have anything to rebound because they kept hitting so many shots.”
The Dinos currently sit at 5–9 and are on the outside of the playoff picture. Despite their less-than-stellar record, Vanhooren still maintains a positive outlook on the future of the Dinos.
“I’m proud of our team,” said Vanhooren. “We’re a young group, and they are learning lessons, and they’ll learn them all this year. But honestly, watch out for us by next season.”