The University of Calgary basketball ladysaurs concluded their regular season schedule with a double-header versus the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Feb. 8-9. The Huskies, despite an inferior record, put up a fight versus the sixth-ranked Dinos, winning one of the two games at Jack Simpson.
On Fri. night, the ladysaurs, clinging to a two-point lead, overcame a crucial Megan Lang turnover with only 12.9 seconds left on the clock to win the game 87-85. This was, in large part, thanks to forward Whitney Haswell's steal to preserve the victory. Even with the win, coach Shawnee Harle was less than enthused.
"We need more intensity, more focus, more smarts and more of a sense of urgency on every possession," she said. "Playoffs are just around the corner and we need to step our game up to get ready for playoff basketball."
The game on Sat. was more of the same. This time, the late-game heroics came courtesy of the Saskatchewan Huskies defence, who stopped Dinos guard Michelle Willson's potential game-tying lay-up with just six seconds remaining. The Huskies then hit their remaining foul shots and hung on for a 79-73 victory. Coach Harle again lamented her team's lack of intensity outside of the closing minutes.
"We can't wait until the last three minutes to play hard," she said. "We must do this every possession for 40 minutes."
As a result of the subsequent seeding, the double header actually turned out to be a playoff preview, as both squads will meet again in a best-of-three Central Division semi-final Feb. 15-17. The ladysaurs, by virtue of their superior record, will have the home court advantage for all three games. As shown by this past weekend's split, the Dinos can clearly not assume anything heading into a playoff series with the lower-seeded U of S.
The Huskies can play the ladysaurs tough, but Coach Harle was not shy when asked if a rematch with this team was ideal,
"I want to play them again so we can show them and ourselves that we are the better team," Harle quipped. "Plus, it makes preparation easy since we already know what to expect after playing them the previous weekend."
As coach Harle and the rest of the Dinos know, the only way to show that they are the better team is to play like it in the playoffs.