Although they would prefer perfection, the Cougar Womens basketball team is pretty satisfied with a 4-1 record after playing five games against some of the best teams in the country.|
Each of the teams the Cougs have met so far was ranked in the pre-season top-10: Western Ontario, Lakehead, Concordia and Alberta (twice). The Cougars were the second ranked team in the poll.
After beating the sixth-ranked U of A Pandas twice, the Cougars traveled to Thunder Bay, Ontario to participate in the Saxon Super 8 Women's Basketball Tournament. With the number-one ranked U of Western Ontario Mustangs on the other side of the draw, the prospect of a number one versus number two match-up in the championship game loomed throughout the tournament.
"I think we turned a lot of heads on the weekend; people know what kind of team we are and what kind of team we can be," said Cougar head coach Christine Stapleton.
In the opening game of the tournament, the Cougs faced number nine ranked Concordia University. The Cougs overcame some horrendous shooting (26 of 76 from the floor) to defeat the Stingers 67-62.
Crystal Heisler was the scoring leader for Regina with 15 points. She also grabbed 10 rebounds. Medorann Harris added 11 points.|
Wanita Jones led the Stingers with 16 points.
On Saturday, in the semi-final, the Cougars faced the host Lakehead University Lady Nor'Westers, ranked tenth in the pre-season poll. The Cougars toppled the Nor'Westers by a 94-81 margin.
Andrea Gottselig led Regina with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Heisler added 17 points.
Katya Mason scored 26 points for Lakehead.
In the other semi-final match, Western Ontario edged Laurentian (tied with Lakehead for tenth in the pre-season poll) by a 74-72 margin. This set up the Western Ontario-Regina championship on Sunday.
The Mustangs jumped out to a nine point half-time lead and managed to keep the Cougars at bay for the second half and triumphed by a 87-76 score.
"For some reason, we were out of synch, and once you get down by twenty against a team like that, you're asking for a tough, tough game," said Stapleton.
"Part of becoming a better team is to
| lose a game like that, so that we can be better prepared next time," Stapleton adds, noting that the Cougars could face Western again this season, at a Christmas tournament in Waterloo and possibly at the National Championship.|
Jennifer Haley scored 40 points to lead the Mustangs, who shot 60% from the floor.
While the Cougars shot a respectable 47% from the floor, they were hampered by 28 turnovers and a free throw percentage of 50.
"We played really hard against Lakehead. The girls played really well, and I thought that would carry over to the game against Western," Stapleton said.
Corrin Wersta and Harris led Regina scorers with 15 points.
Gottselig and Heisler were named to the tournament all-star team.
Despite the loss to Western Stapleton is satisfied with her team's performance against such difficult opposition, noting that the four teams the Cougars have played so far could end up winning their conferences.
"Sure I'd love to be 5-0, but there are lessons to be learned in losing games just as there are lessons to be learned in winning," commented Stapleton.