VICTORIA, B.C. (from Vikes Athletics) – Everything is up for grabs this coming Friday, Feb. 9, when the 5th-seeded University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team hosts the 12th-seeded University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in a Canada West play-in contest scheduled for 7 pm PST inside the CARSA Performance Gym.
The winner of Friday’s single play-in game will advance to the Canada West quarter-finals where a matchup against one of the top-four teams in the conference awaits. The Regina Cougars (18-2), Saskatchewan Huskies (17-3), Trinity Western Spartans (16-4) and Calgary Dinos (15-5) all earned a bye.
“Both teams have changed a lot and what’s at stake in the games is completely different,” said Dani Sinclair, Vikes head coach. “When you look at the boxscores from October the lineups and minute distribution has changed completely for both teams. They have a couple of veteran players, and so do we, but we are both relatively young teams, and the development of individual players has come a long way on both sides.”
The Vikes record of 16-4 at the end of the regular season saw them miss out on a bye straight through to the Canada West quarter-finals by just .0019 of an RPI point. For the Cascades, their record of 8-12 tied them with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack for the 12th and final playoff spot. The Cascades advanced through to the playoffs thanks to their sweep of the WolfPack on Jan. 12 and 13 that clinched them the head-to-head tie-breaker.
The Cascades and the Vikes met twice earlier this season with the teams splitting a pair of pre-season contests in Abbotsford, B.C. The Cascades dominated the opening night by a score of 72-60, before the Vikes rebounded to pick up a 58-41 victory in the second game.
Last Time Out
Two more victories ensured that the Vikes winning streak ran to 12 games, while the Cascades kept their season alive with a split last weekend.
Playing against their rivals, the UBC Thunderbirds, in a home-and-home series to finish off the regular season, the Vikes showed great resolve in winning two games that went down to the wire.
Kristy Gallagher scored the game-clinching points in a 76-74 win in Victoria on Feb. 1, while Amira Giannattasio put up 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Vikes to a 77-73 victory in Vancouver on Feb. 2.
The Cascades fell 79-74 in overtime on Friday, Feb. 2 to the Manitoba Bisons before picking up an 80-56 victory over those same Bisons in what was a must-win game on Saturday, Feb. 3. Third-year forward Taylor Claggett set a new Canada West record by going 15-of-19 from the charity stripe in the team’s post-season clinching victory.
By the Numbers
17.9 & 17.8: Giannattasio and Gallagher sit sixth and seventh in the conference respectively, with both fourth-years putting up nearly 18 points a game.
71 percent: The Cascades three-headed monster of Claggett, Shayna Littman and Sara Simovic account for 45.9 of the team’s 64.5 points per game.
12: The Vikes’ current 12 game winning streak is the second-longest in the nation, behind only the 19-0 Carleton Ravens