The Carillon brings you the weekly news from the University of Regina.
by Michael Towle
It might not have been the 2008 Olympics, but it was close enough for one U of R athlete.
Recently, Cymone Bouchard, MVP for the U of R CIAU Champion Womenıs Basketball team, had the opportunity to play in the World University Games, in Beijing, China.
From August 7 to September 1, Bouchard was in Beijing to represent the best of Canadian womenıs university basketball.
After starting the tournament with four wins and no losses, including a thrilling win over the U.S., Canada lost games to the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Russia to finish in sixth place.
According to Bouchard, the Games were an amazing experience.
³[This is the] best so far. Better competition, everyoneıs good; itıs a different level of [basketball]. This is the next best thing to the Olympics.²
Bouchard singled out one event of her time at the Games as the best.
³Our win against the Yanks! After our win, everyone in the village, all the countries congratulated us. Even days after, we were still getting high fives. I guess people just like Canadians better!²
However, the trip was not all Cinderella-story triumphs where the Canadian underdogs defeated the heavy favorites.
After a disappointing loss to Lithuania, Canada played against the Czech Republic in a game that would determine whether Canada would move on to the medal round. A Czech player hit the game-winning, buzzer-beating lay-up right over Bouchardıs head.
³Iıll always remember the game...when my player scored the winning hoop with no time on the clock,² says Bouchard. ³That really sucked big time.²
³We could have done better, but we did well as a unit. A couple shouldıve, couldıve, and wouldıves, and weıd have a medal around our necks,² says Bouchard. ³But hey, the sun always comes up the next day.²
Impressively, the U of R Cougars were represented by more than one team member. Christine Stapelton, who coached the Cougars to the Canadian Championship last season, was calling the shots for the Canadian womenıs university team in Beijing. Stapelton was no doubt as excited as the rest of the players.
³Christine did awesome. She showed that she loved being a part of the experience with us,² says Bouchard. ³She prepared us well for every game and she had fun with us off the court.²
Stapleton, never missing the chance to strengthen her relationship with the Cougars star, made sure that Bouchard got the most out of the on-court experience.
³She helped me because she gave me chances, she believed in me and she knows that whatever she has to say, I can apply it.²
The faith Stapleton placed in Bouchard was rewarded throughout the tournament, but especially when Bouchard made two free-throws at the end to win one of the crucial games.
Even though they had good times on the court, playing basketball was not all they did in Beijing. But after touring around, Bouchard and the others could not wait to get back to the athletesı village and eat some food that their bellies were more accustomed to.
³The food was weird, there were lots of bikes everywhere, and they drive like thereıs no tomorrow,² explains Bouchard. ³But they were nice people, and there was great shopping.²
One difficult part of the experience was overcoming the fierce rivalries that Canadian players had built during Canadian university competition that now had to be put on hold.
Bouchard admits, ³...Even though I thought I hated some of them, they turned out to be cool people.²
³Next time?² Bouchard wonders. ³Yeah, the friendships, the competition and the overall experience make me want to develop my potential and take my play a step further.²
Questions or comments? Email Erin Mazur, Acting Technology Co-Ordinator.