The Dinos women’s and men’s basketball home openers took place on Nov. 8–9 against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. The Dinos women’s team came away with two victories while the men failed to grab their first win of the season.
The Dinos women’s team narrowly beat the Wesmen 64–59 on Nov. 8 in a game that went down to the wire. Forward Lawrie Saunders led the Dinos in scoring with 13 points and also captured an important eight rebounds to help shore up the home opener.
“It’s great to get a win on the home opening,” said head coach Damien Jennings. “We’ve made some improvements from last weekend’s disappointment.”
The Dinos got off to a slow start, falling behind 10–0 in the first six minutes of the game. However, by the end of the first half the Dinos had cut the Wesmen’s lead down to only two points.
In the second half, the Dinos played exceptionally fierce and led 51–43 after the third quarter. However, the Wesmen’s aggressive defence made a game of it in the fourth quarter by forcing many Dinos turnovers. With just one minute left in the game, the Wesmen had cut the lead down to just two points. In the end, the clutch free-throw shooting of point guard Kristie Shiels secured the win for the Dinos. The close game provided the young Dinos team with some much needed experience in pressure situations.
“We haven’t been in these situations with this group,” said Jennings. “We were playing really tight, and they were up on us. You have to go through those experiences with anxiety.”
The Dinos have been emphasizing an up-tempo style of play early on in the season.
“We call it punch them first — we come out and keep the tempo up,” said Sheils. “We believe that not a lot of teams in Canada West can keep up with us, so we keep pushing the ball and don’t let them get set up in their zone. They’ll get tired before us and that will pay off in the second half, where we push and get scores. So that’s our aim.”
In game two of the weekend series, the Dinos completed the sweep by winning 63–56, led by guard Tamara Jarrett, who scored 20 points. The Dinos came charging out in the second half and jumped out to a commanding 12-point lead by the end of the third quarter and never looked back.
In their opening series against the Wesmen, the Dinos men’s team lost the first match 86–80, and the second 79–75.
Game one was a close affair throughout, and the Dinos were lead by a team-high 20-point performance from guard Josh Turner. Coach Dan Vanhooren felt that the Dinos could have pulled off a win if they had been more careful with the ball.
“The result is disappointing,” said Vanhooren. “Our shooting percentage is good and we finally out-rebounded a team this year. We lost guys in transition and then we turned the ball over too much. We turned it over where we couldn’t defend. So it’s going to be important for us to shore that up.”
In game two, Philip Barndt, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson and Josh Turner combined to score 54 of the Dinos’s 75 points, but their effort was not enough to hold off the Wesmen. The Dinos were up as much as 12 points early in the game, but the Wesmen took control and lead 42–39 by the end of the half.
The teams exchanged the lead throughout the third quarter, but it was the Wesmen who led by four points going into the fourth quarter. In the final stanza, the Dinos tied the game up at 73 but were unable to come out ahead.
Now four games into the season, the women are 2–2 overall while the men sit at 0–4. The Dinos’s next games are on Nov. 15–16, when they will take on the University of Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg.