The University of Calgary played host to some preseason basketball action on Oct. 10–12 at the annual Calgary Cup. The Dinos men’s team went 2–1, while the Dinos women’s finished the tournament win-less at 0–3.
The men’s Dinos won their opening game against the McMaster University Marauders 76–72. The game was close throughout, but the balanced offence provided by the Dinos secured them the win.
In their second game, the men’s Dinos lost a tight one to the Cape Breton University Capers 88–86. The Capers led for most of the game until the Dinos went on a scoring binge and finished the third quarter with an eight-point lead. The game came down to the final shot of the fourth quarter, when forward Sean McCormick hit a three-point shot to secure a win for the Capers.
In their final game of the weekend, the men’s Dinos laid a 79–66 beat down on the Westminister College Griffins. Fourth-year guard Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson went off for 34 points on an impressive array of step-back jumpers, three-pointers and daring drives to the bucket.
“It was a big win,” said Ogungbemi-Jackson. “We just knew we had to come out and play hard and aggressive. This is a very good team that we were playing against. They execute so well, and they got a lot of guys that can score the ball. We knew we had to come out ready, and I think that we did a good job of that.”
On one memorable occasion, with the shot clock winding down, Ogungbemi-Jackson hit a three point shot while falling out of bounds, a play that received loud cheers from the crowd.
“You got to practice a bunch of different type of shots,” said Ogungbemi-Jackson “[I was] just really staying in the moment and my teammates were telling me to be aggressive, which was what I was focusing on, and just trying to get the win.”
Head coach Dan Vanhooren has been with the Dinos since 2000, and he commented on the game three win.
“I thought our effort was good for 40 minutes,” said Vanhooren. “Compared to last night, our defensive presence was much better. We battled harder on the glass and I thought we played a much more disciplined style of basketball. I’m really pleased with the weekend.”
The good start to the season has given Vanhooren a positive outlook for the team’s upcoming regular season.
“I think we’re a very competitive team,” said Vanhooren. “We’ve beaten some pretty good basketball teams already and I think we’re in the hunt to be a playoff team.”
In their tournament opener, the Dinos women’s team lost to their cross-town rivals, the Mount Royal University Cougars 67–57. The Cougars held a solid lead up until three minutes left in the third quarter, when the Dinos tied up the game. It was a close game from there on, but in the end the Cougars prevailed. Guard Kristie Sheils scored a game-high 22 points for the Dinos.
The University of Alberta Golden Bears dominated the Dinos in their second game of the tournament. The Bears opened the game on an 11–0 run and never looked back. The final score was 69–44 for the Bears. Tamara Jarrett led the way for the Dinos with 11 points.
Despite a valiant effort in game three, the Dinos lost a close one to the York Lions 70–67. The Dinos held an eight-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but it was the Lions that managed to overcome the aggressive Dinos zone defence and come up with big buckets in the end. Sheils scored 11 points for Calgary in the loss.
The Dinos are placing a big emphasis on strong defence this year.
“One of our bigger goals is to be the best defensive teams in the CIS,” said Sheils.
Going 0-3 to start the season can be tough on the psyche of a player, but the women’s team has an experienced coach in Damian Jennings, who is also the coach for the U20 British women’s national team.
“I’m impressed with the way that we’ve developed over the three games,” said Jennings. “On one side of it, I’m disappointed with the result, but also pleased that we’ve made some incremental growth.”
The Dinos women’s and men’s next home games are on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. respectively. They will take on the University of Winnipeg Wesmen at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium.