U Sports Basketball (W): A look at the semis in Canada West

Montreal QC,- Four teams enter, two teams will get the opportunity to be play for the chance to win the conference championship and automatic berth to Final 8 in the national capital. The defending champions and number- two seed, Saskatchewan Huskies are itching closer to a repeat performance. It would be the second- time in three years that they would have gone back- back.; Saskathewan won two straight Championships in 2016 and 2017. The University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds are looking to win their first since 2011-2012. The number one seed, Calgary Dinos are looking to win their eighth Canada-West Championship and first since 199-2000. The Alberta Pandas have never won a Canada West title however, they did win a national championship in 1998-1999 season.

Canada West Semi Finals Preview

Alberta Pandas vs. Calgary Dinos:

In what should be an exciting game between Alberta rivals. The Dinos had a 18-2 record during the regular season. The Pandas enter the game with an 16-4 record. The Dinos advanced to the semi- finals after beating the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) Timberwolves, 97-68. The Pandas made it to semi- final after winning 64-48 over Fraser Valley Cascades. The two schools faced off against one another in late January which saw the two schools split the series; Dinos took game one winning 66-88. The Pandas took the second game winning 78-68.

Image result for alberta pandas basketball
(Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics)

The Dinos coming into this game have averaged 73.8 points/ game,1,477 points in 20 games,3rd in conference. The team led the conference in 3 pointers made in game as they averaged 8.2. On defense, they held opponents to 57.4 points/ game, second in the conference. They held opponents to shot 36.4%. Lastly, 15.8 turnovers per a game including 12.7 steals which was first in conference.

The Pandas are coming into the semi-finals matchup averaging 70.4 points/ game,1,408 points during the regular season. They averaged 41.5 rebounds a game. Alberta were a defense first team as they held opponents to 58.0 points/ game and shoot 33% against them, second in CW. They led the conference in blocks averaging 4.0 per a game. They averaged 20.3 turnovers a game.

The Dinos’ key players are two second team Canada- West all-stars, fifth- year wing , Erin McIntosh and third-year guard, Liene Stalidzane. McIntosh averaged 12.4 points/ game, 249 points along with 112 rebounds. She also had 21 blocks . In the two games against Pandas, she had 25 and five rebounds in first game and nine points along with nine rebounds in the second one. She had 15 points and nine rebounds in the quarterfinals game against UNBC Timberwolves.

Stalidzane led the team in scoring as she averaged 14.8 points per a game,296 points in 20 games. She also had 83 rebounds, lastly she finished fourth in three’s made making 46-120. In the first meeting against the Pandas, she had 21 points and four rebounds. In the second game, she had 16 points and rebound. She had two points and five rebounds in the quarterfinals game against UNBC Timberwolves.

Alberta’s offense runs through fifth-year guard and first-team Canada-West all-star, Vanessa Wild. Wild averaged 18.0 points a game, 360 points which ranked her fifth in the conference. She also had 121 rebounds,39 assists and 41 steals. In their first meeting against the Dinos, she had 11 points and five rebounds. In the second game, she had 23 points along with six rebounds. In the Pandas quarterfinals game against the Cascades, she had 14 points and six rebounds.

UBC Thunderbirds vs. Saskatchewan Huskies:

The defending champions, Saskatchewan Huskies are looking to return to their eighth-straight Championship game. The Thunderbirds have won two Canada-West titles in ten years. The Huskies enter the semi-finals following 18-2 season and beat University of Victoria Vikes in the quarterfinals. The Thunderbirds finished the regular season with 16-4 record and made it to the semi-finals game beating Winnipeg Wesmen, 92-85.

(UBC Thunderbrids Athletics)

The two schools did not meet each other during the regular season. The game should be a great scoring battle as the two top scoring teams in CW are going head to head.

The Huskies led the conference in points averaging 83.0 points a game, with a total of 1,660 points in regular season. They were also first in rebounding as they averaged 48.9 rebounds per a game. The team followed a defense- first game plan as they were first in a majority of categories as they held opponents to 49.5 points/ game, opponents shot 29.4% and they averaged 14.6 turnovers a game including 12.5 steals a game. The Thunderbirds enter their semi- finals tilt averaging 75.7 points a game, 1,513 points during the regular season, second in the conference. They averaged 46.6 rebounds per a game which was third in the conference. The Thunderbirds on the defense, held opponents to 64.8 points/ game. Opponents shot 36.8% against them . They averaged 17.3 turnovers a game.

The Huskies offensive threat is led by first team CW all- star fourth-year forward, Summer Masikewich. Masikewich averaged 17.4 points/ game, 349 points in 20 games. She also had 181 rebounds including 80 offensive rebounds which led the conference, with 20 blocks and 34 assists. She had 29 points and 15 rebounds in quarterfinals game against the Vikes.

The Thunderbirds on offense is led by double- double machine and first team CW all- star and fourth- year forward, Keylyn Filewich. Filewich averaged 19.1 points a game, 381 points which was good enough for fourth in the conference. She also has 207 rebounds, second in the conference. She also led the conference in blocks with 27. She was first in field goals made making 165-269 and FG% with 59.1% . She had 29 points and thirteen rebounds in the quarterfinals win over Winnipeg.

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