CIS Nationals Preview (CIS Release)

 

2014 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS women’s basketball championship

No. 1 Lancers aim for fourth straight Bronze Baby triumph

March 11, 2014

(By Michel Belanger)

 

OTTAWA (CIS) – The tournament host University of Windsor Lancers hope to capture a remarkable fourth straight Bronze Baby Trophy this weekend on their home court at the St. Denis Centre, which would give them the second longest championship streak in CIS women’s basketball history.

CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wbkb/index

The ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS Final 8 gets under way on Friday and culminates Sunday at 8 p.m. with the gold-medal final, live on Sportsnet 360.

Sportsnet 360 also has live coverage of Saturday’s semifinals at 3 and 5 p.m. All 11 games from the tournament – including televised contests – will be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv.

The OUA champion Lancers, who head into the competition as the No. 1 seed for the second straight season and for the third time in four years, will be joined in their quest for the CIS banner by the second-seeded Saint Mary’s Huskies (AUS champs), No. 3 Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West champs), No. 4 McGill Martlets (RSEQ champs), No. 5 Fraser Valley Cascades (Canada West finalists), No. 6 Queen’s Gaels (OUA finalists), No. 7 Alberta Pandas (Canada West bronze medallists) and No. 8 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (OUA bronze medallists).

In Friday’s quarter-finals, Alberta will battle Saint Mary’s in the 1 p.m. opener, followed by Queen’s vs. Saskatchewan at 3 p.m., Laurier and Windsor at 6 p.m., and Fraser Valley and McGill in the 8 p.m. nightcap.

The St. Denis Centre is where it all began for the Lancers, who beat Saskatchewan in front of a packed house in the 2011 final to become the first team in history to hoist the Bronze Baby on home court. They have since added titles in Calgary two years ago and in Regina last winter.

Windsor is currently tied with Winnipeg (1993-1995), Victoria (1980-1982) and UBC (1972-1974) as teams to capture three straight CIS women’s basketball crowns, trailing only Laurentian’s five consecutive triumphs from 1975 to 1979.

The veteran-laden Lancers are enjoying another spectacular season in 2013-14. They head into the national tournament with an overall record of 33-1 versus CIS competition and are 8-0 against teams competing at this week’s championship, including three wins over Laurier, two apiece against Fraser Valley and Queen’s, and one over Alberta. Since a 62-58 upset loss to Carleton in its OUA opener back on Nov. 1, Windsor has racked up 27 consecutive victories, including a 73-48 domination of Queen’s in the Ontario conference final.

The defending champs are led by a pair of fifth-year standouts in post Jessica Clemençon and guard Miah-Marie Langlois, as well as fourth-year guard Korissa Williams, all named OUA West all-stars this year. Clemençon, a three-time all-Canadian and former CIS player of the year, was once again the team’s top scorer (18.2) and rebounder (7.7) this season. Langlois is a two-time CIS defensive player of the year and was the MVP of the 2011 and 2012 national tourneys, while Williams was the championship MVP a year ago.

“It is an incredible privilege to be competing for another title on our home court,” says nine-year head coach Chantal Vallée, whose troops averaged a CIS-best 83.0 points per game in league play and has defeated first-round opponent Laurier 73-44, 70-59 and 86-58 over the course of the campaign. “I am very grateful that our program has qualified for the championships through the front door for the sixth straight year, and that we have the opportunity to capture our fourth Bronze Baby. We could not be more excited to have the tournament start and play in front of our spectacular home fans!”

Saint Mary’s is considered by many to be Windsor’s biggest threat this week. The back-to-back AUS champs returned to the CIS tournament for the first time since 1977 a year ago and claimed the bronze medal as the No. 2 seed. While they haven’t faced any of their Final 8 foes this season, the Huskies enter the 2014 championship with an unblemished 29-0 overall mark against CIS competition.

Fifth-year guard Justine Colley, the reigning CIS player of the year, all-time CIS scoring leader and member of the Canadian senior national squad, is still the undisputed leader of the team, but head coach Scott Munro was able to diversify is offence this season thanks in large part to the addition of NCAA transfer Rachelle Coward. After winning the CIS scoring title each of the past three years, Colley “settled” for 20.8 points per contest and the AUS crown this season, while Coward averaged 18.8 to make the Huskies (81.6) the second-highest scoring team in the country behind Windsor (83.0).

“We’re obviously excited to represent our conference once again,” says Munro, in his sixth campaign at the helm. “We have had a great season to date and are looking forward to competing against the best teams in the country and our first-round matchup on Friday.”

Third-seeded Saskatchewan spent most of the season in the shadow of Alberta (20-2) and Regina (20-2) in the Canada West Prairie division, finishing in third place with a solid 17-5 record. After being pushed to the limit by UBC in their best-of-three conference quarter-final series, the Huskies upset Regina in the semifinals, before defeating Fraser Valley 67-56 for the Canada West banner.

The Huskies, who reached the lone CIS final in program history at the St. Denis Centre in 2011, are led by 6-foot-3 post Dalyce Emmerson, who was named Canada West player of the year after she placed fourth in the country in scoring (19.2) and second in rebounds (11.6).

“We are honoured to be representing the Canada West conference as league champions this year. We had to defeat a number of excellent opponents on the road to get here, so we feel like we’re playing our best basketball right now,” says Lisa Thomaidis, the senior national team head coach who is back with the Huskies this season after a year away from the U of S sidelines. “After a one year hiatus, we are thrilled to be back at nationals. Windsor did a great job of hosting in 2011, so we are looking forward to seeing what the hosting committee has in store for everyone this time around.”

McGill is making its third straight appearance at the championship and, after finishing seventh in 2012 and fifth a year ago, appears ready to add to the lone CIS medal in program history, bronze in 1996.

Playing in the defensive-minded Quebec conference, the Martlets averaged only 57.9 points per game in league play (32nd in the country) but were the top defensive team in the nation thanks to their stingy 47.7 average. In typical McGill fashion, they beat UQAM 63-50 in the RSEQ final. Super sophomore Mariam Sylla was voted conference MVP this season thanks to her team-leading 13.1 points and 9.4 boards per contest.

“I am happy with our fourth-place seeding; it shows some recognition and respect for our conference,” says Ryan Thorne, in his 11th season as head coach. “Our returning players have been there before and know what it takes to win. Now it’s just about going out there and doing it. We should match up well with Fraser Valley, our first opponent. We played them at nationals last year and both have a lot of similar qualities. Depth is more of a strength for both teams rather than just having one key person who goes in and does everything.”

Fraser Valley went 0-2 last winter in its first-ever trip the CIS tourney, including a 70-52 loss to McGill in consolation action. The Cascades booked their ticket for the 2014 championship with an upset of heavily-favoured Alberta in the Canada West semis, defeating the Pandas 66-56 in their own gym.

The Cascades boast a 26-8 overall record against CIS opponents this season but are only 2-5 versus Final 8 teams, including 27 and 20-point losses to top-ranked Windsor at the St. Denis Centre in late December. Sarah Wierks was UFV’s top scorer (11.9) and rebounder (8.1) in league play.

“We are excited to be heading back to the Final 8. We expect to build off last year’s experience and we’re proud to represent the Fraser Valley and the Canada West conference in Windsor this week,” says bench boss Al Tuchscherer. “Our team has played with resolve this year and we have played some of our best basketball of late. We hope that surviving the Canada West playoffs will serve us well, as we know that we will have to be playing our best against the seven other great teams that have qualified for the Final 8.”

Queen’s returns to the national championship for the first time since 2003 and only the third time in program history. The Gaels earned their ticket to Windsor in spectacular fashion on March 1 with an overtime win over Carleton in the OUA East final. They ran out of gas in the OUA title match against the Lancers however, dropping a lopsided 73-48 decision last Saturday.

In Friday’s opening round against Saskatchewan, the Gaels will have to play better than they did back on Oct. 18 when they were dominated 68-33 by the Huskies at the Ryerson Invitational in Toronto.

“I am very pleased with the progress our relatively young team has made over the course of the season. Earning the East Division title and moving through the playoffs has provided them with great experiences that will help them grow in confidence for the national championship and into future seasons,” says 32-year head coach Dave Wilson. “The University of Windsor, in addition to being a great basketball team, will put on a first-class championship that will be an experience that our players will enjoy and remember for the rest of their lives.”

The Pandas, who rebounded from their upset loss to UFV in the conference semis with a 55-50 win over Regina to claim Canada West bronze and subsequently earn the wildcard berth for the Final 8, are without a doubt one of the strongest seventh seeds in recent memory.

Alberta was ranked no lower than fifth in the country all season, including third behind Windsor and Saint Mary’s in each of the last nine weekly national polls. The Pandas gave the Lancers a good run for their money in pre-season action on Oct. 19, losing 57-50 on home court in Edmonton, and went 3-0 against third-seeded and Canada West champion Saskatchewan over the course of the campaign.

Among this week’s contenders, Alberta is the only team other than Windsor to claim the Bronze Baby in the past, in 1999.

“We are excited to be back at the national championship with a chance to compete for the Bronze Baby. We are grateful to be selected for the at-large berth and are thrilled to be joining such an impressive field of teams,” says sideline boss Scott Edwards, who guided his troops to CIS bronze in their last appearance in 2009. “Getting an opportunity to play a really talented and tough team like AUS champion Saint Mary’s will be a formidable challenge. We will rely on our preparation through a really tough Canada West conference, our depth and experience to help us prepare for this matchup.”

Like Queen’s a week before them, the No. 8 Golden Hawks qualified for the Final 8 last Saturday thanks to an overtime win over Carleton, this one in the OUA bronze-medal match. It actually took two extra periods for Laurier to best the Ravens 70-65.

The Hawks will no doubt have to play their best game of the season on Friday if they hope to upset reigning three-time champion Windsor. They are 0-3 this year against the Lancers, including a crushing 86-58 loss in the OUA West final.

“It’s great. It’s especially great for our seniors. We’ve got four girls who were in Windsor three years ago for nationals and were extremely motivated to get back and finish their careers there,” says head coach Paul Falco. “It’s a great accomplishment and it’s going to be a good experience for our younger girls and we’re looking forward to playing the top teams in the country.”

PARTICIPATING TEAMS

 

No. 1 Windsor Lancers

 

Head Coach: Chantal Vallée (9th season)

Regular season record: 21-1

Regular season standing: 1st OUA West

Playoff record: 3-0

Playoff finish: OUA champions

Overall record vs. CIS teams: 33-1

Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 8-0 (2-0 vs. UFV, 2-0 QNS, 1-0 ALB, 3-0 WLU)

Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 1

Top 10 best ranking: No.1 (7 weeks)

Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13

Conference award winners (OUA West): Miah-Marie Langlois (defensive MVP), Chantal Vallée (coach)

Conference 1st team all-stars (OUA West): Jessica Clemençon (F), Miah-Marie Langlois (G)

Conference 2nd team all-stars (OUA West): Korissa Williams (G)

Conference all-rookie team (OUA West): Cheyanne Roger (F)

Season leaders (points per game): Jessica Clemençon (18.2), Miah-Marie Langlois (15.3)

Season leader (rebounds per game): Jessica Clemençon (7.7)

Season leader (assists per game): Miah-Marie Langlois (4.9)

Team national ranking (offence): 1st (83.0)

Team national ranking (defence): 3rd (50.2)

CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 6th

CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 12-3 (.800)

CIS championship best result: 3-time champions (2013, 2012, 2011)

CIS championship all-time medals: 4 (3-1-0)

CIS championship last appearance: 2013 (champions)

CIS championship sequence: 6th consecutive appearance

CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 2-0 (1 appearance)

 

No. 2 Saint Mary’s Huskies

 

Head Coach: Scott Munro (6th season)

Regular season record: 20-0

Regular season standing: 1st AUS

Playoff record: 2-0

Playoff finish: AUS champions

Overall record vs. CIS teams: 29-0

Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-0

Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 2

Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (6 weeks)

Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13

Conference award winners: Justine Colley (MVP)

Conference 1st team all-stars: Justine Colley (G), Rachelle Coward (G)

Conference 2nd team all-stars: Laura Langille (F)

Conference all-rookie team: None

Season leaders (points per game): Justine Colley (20.8), Rachelle Coward (18.8)

Season leader (rebounds per game): Laura Langille (8.2)

Season leader (assists per game): Justine Colley (5.7)

Team national ranking (offence): 2nd (81.6)

Team national ranking (defence): 17th (59.1)

CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 3rd

CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 3-3 (.500)

CIS championship best result: Bronze (2013)

CIS championship all-time medals: 1 (0-0-1)

CIS championship last appearance: 2013 (bronze)

CIS championship sequence: 2nd consecutive appearance

CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-0

 

No. 3 Saskatchewan Huskies

 

Head Coach: Lisa Thomaidis (15th season)

Regular season record: 17-5

Regular season standing: 3rd Canada West Prairie

Playoff record: 4-1

Playoff finish: Canada West champions

Overall record vs. CIS teams: 26-7

Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 3-3 (2-0 vs. UFV, 1-0 QNS, 0-3 ALB)

Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 6

Top 10 best ranking: No. 4 (4 weeks)

Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13

Conference award winners: Dalyce Emmerson (MVP & defensive MVP)

Conference 1st team all-stars: Dalyce Emmerson (P)

Conference 2nd team all-stars: None

Conference all-rookie team: None

Season leaders (points per game): Dalyce Emmerson (19.2), Kiera Lyons (12.6)

Season leader (rebounds per game): Dalyce Emmerson (11.6)

Season leader (assists per game): Kabree Howard (4.0)

Team national ranking (offence): 5th (71.5)

Team national ranking (defence): 18th (60.0)

CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 8th

CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 8-12 (.400)

CIS championship best result: Finalists (2011)

CIS championship all-time medals: 2 (0-1-1)

CIS championship last appearance: 2012 (6th place)

CIS championship sequence: Return after 1-year absence (6th appearance in 7 years)

CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-1 (1 appearance)

 

No. 4 McGill Martlets

 

Head Coach: Ryan Thorne (11th season)

Regular season record: 13-3

Regular season standing: 1st RSEQ

Playoff record: 2-0

Playoff finish: RSEQ champions

Overall record vs. CIS teams: 19-4

Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-0

Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 8

Top 10 best ranking: No. 6 (3 weeks)

Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13

Conference award winners: Mariam Sylla (MVP)

Conference 1st team all-stars: Mariam Sylla (F), Françoise Charest (G)

Conference 2nd team all-stars: Hélène Bibeau (F)

Conference all-rookie team: Jennifer Silver (F)

Season leaders (points per game): Mariam Sylla (13.1), Hélène Bibeau (8.4)

Season leader (rebounds per game): Mariam Sylla (9.4)

Season leader (assists per game): Dianna Ros (3.1)

Team national ranking (offence): 32nd (57.9)

Team national ranking (defence): 1st (47.3)

CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 9th

CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 7-13 (.350)

CIS championship best result: Bronze (1996)

CIS championship all-time medals: 1 (0-0-1)

CIS championship last appearance: 2013 (5th place)

CIS championship sequence: 3rd consecutive appearance

CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-0

 

No. 5 Fraser Valley Cascades

 

 Head Coach: Al Tuchscherer (12th season / 8th in CIS)

Regular season record: 17-5

Regular season standing: 1st Canada West Pacific

Playoff record: 3-1

Playoff finish: Canada West finalists

Overall record vs. CIS teams: 26-8

Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 2-5 (0-2 vs. WSR, 0-2 SASK, 1-1 ALB, 1-0 WLU)

Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 5

Top 10 best ranking: No. 3 (3 weeks)

Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13

Conference award winners: None

Conference 1st team all-stars: None

Conference 2nd team all-stars: Aieisha Luyken (G)

Conference all-rookie team: None

Season leaders (points per game): Sarah Wierks (11.9), Aieisha Luyken (10.7), Kaylie Sartori (10.7)

Season leader (rebounds per game): Sarah Wierks (8.1)

Season leader (assists per game): Aieisha Luyken (4.3)

Team national ranking (offence): 6th (70.2)

Team national ranking (defence): 7th (53.3)

CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 2nd

CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 0-2 (.000)

CIS championship best result: Tied 7th place (2013)

CIS championship all-time medals: 0

CIS championship last appearance: 2013 (tied 7th place)

CIS championship sequence: 2nd consecutive appearance

CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-2 (2 appearances)

 

 No. 6 Queen’s Gaels

 

Head Coach: Dave Wilson (32nd season)

Regular season record: 16-6

Regular season standing: 1st OUA East

Playoff record: 2-1

Playoff finish: OUA finalists

Overall record vs. CIS teams: 25-11

Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 0-4 (0-2 vs. WSR, 0-1 SASK, 0-1 WLU)

Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 10

Top 10 best ranking: No. 10 (2 weeks – last 2 polls)

Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 2

Conference award winners (OUA East): Gemma Bullard (Tracy MacLeod Award), Dave Wilson (coach)

Conference 1st team all-stars (OUA East): Liz Boag (G), Jenny Wright (W)

Conference 2nd team all-stars (OUA East): Gemma Bullard (W)

Conference all-rookie team (OUA East): Andrea Priamo (P)

Season leaders (points per game): Jenny Wright (13.0), Liz Boag (12.0)

Season leader (rebounds per game): Robyn Pearson (9.7)

Season leader (assists per game): Liz Boag (3.5)

Team national ranking (offence): 17th (63.6)

Team national ranking (defence): 11th (56.8)

CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 3rd

CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 1-4 (.200)

CIS championship best result: 4th place (2001)

CIS championship all-time medals: 0

CIS championship last appearance: 2003 (tied 7th place)

CIS championship sequence: Return after 10-year absence

CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-0

 

No. 7 Alberta Pandas

 

Head Coach: Scott Edwards (8th season)

Regular season record: 20-2

Regular season standing: 1st Canada West Prairie

Playoff record: 3-1

Playoff finish: Canada West bronze medallists

Overall record vs. CIS teams: 32-4

Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 5-2 (0-1 vs. WSR, 3-0 SASK, 1-1 UFV, 1-0 WLU)

Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): No. 3

Top 10 best ranking: No. 2 (1 week – first poll)

Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13

Conference award winners: Jaime Norum (Tracy MacLeod Award), Scott Edwards (coach)

Conference 1st team all-stars: Andria Carlyon (F)

Conference 2nd team all-stars: None

Conference all-rookie team: None

Season leaders (points per game): Andria Carlyon (10.5), Kendra Asleson (10.2)

Season leader (rebounds per game): Andria Carlyon (7.3)

Season leader (assists per game): Jessilyn Fairbanks (3.4)

Team national ranking (offence): 7th (69.3)

Team national ranking (defence): 8th (54.6)

CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 10th

CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 13-12 (.520)

CIS championship best result: 1-time champions (1999)

CIS championship all-time medals: 4 (1-2-1)

CIS championship last appearance: 2009 (bronze)

CIS championship sequence: Return after 4-year absence

CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 0-1 (1 appearance)

 

No. 8 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks

 

Head Coach: Paul Falco (6th season)

Regular season record: 15-7

Regular season standing: 3rd OUA West

Playoff record: 3-1

Playoff finish: OUA bronze medallists

Overall record vs. CIS teams: 23-13

Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 1-5 (0-3 vs. WSR, 0-1 UFV, 1-0 QNS, 0-1 ALB)

Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 25): Unranked

Top 10 best ranking: No. 7 (1 week)

Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 7

Conference award winners (OUA West): Doreen Bonsu (Tracy MacLeod Award)

Conference 1st team all-stars (OUA West): None

Conference 2nd team all-stars (OUA West): Laura Doyle (G)

Conference all-rookie team (OUA West): Alexandra Spadaro (F)

Season leaders (points per game): Laura Doyle (10.5), Kaitlyn Schenck (7.3), Whitney Ellenor (7.3)

Season leader (rebounds per game): Doreen Bonsu (5.5)

Season leader (assists per game): Lee Anna Osei (3.7)

Team national ranking (offence): 21st (63.1)

Team national ranking (defence): 16th (58.8)

CIS championship appearances (not including Regionals): 4th

CIS championship all-time record (not including Regionals): 2-5 (.286)

CIS championship best result: 5th place (2011)

CIS championship all-time medals: 0

CIS championship last appearance: 2011 (5th place)

CIS championship sequence: Return after 2-year absence

CIS Regionals record (2011 & 2012): 2-0 (1 appearance)

 

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