U Sports Basketball (W): Canada West Championship Preview

Montreal, QC- Tonight, It all comes down to this. The Saskatchewan Huskies are playing in their seventh straight Canada West Championship game and enter the as the favourite as the defending CW champions. The Alberta Pandas are playing in their first title game since 2007, they are looking for their first-ever win. This Championship game promises to be a thriller.

CW Championship Preview:

#2 Saskatchewan Huskies vs. #4 Alberta Pandas :

The Huskies advanced their seventh- straight and are looking to win back to back the CW triple crown for the first time since the last time they did it from the 2015-2017 seasons; before then Simon Fraser Clan won back to back CW titles in 2008-2010. The Huskies are looking to win their seventh CW title. The Huskies finished the regular season with 18-2 record and advanced to the finals by beating the Victoria Vikes in quarterfinals,80-75 last Thursday and then beat UBC Thunderbirds in semi-finals,76-72 last Friday night.

Image result for alberta pandas basketbal
(University of Alberta Athletics)

The Pandas, led by CW coach of the year, Scott Edwards had a record of 16-4. The last time, the Pandas were in finals, they had a record of 16-6 and Scott Edwards won coach of the year, déjà vu alert. The Pandas advanced to the finals after beating Fraser Valley Cascades, 64-48 and then beating the number one seed, Calgary Dinos at home 80-78. The two schools met during the regular season in the final weekend of Canada- West season; where the two schools split Pandas took game one winning 78-71 and Huskies won game two by a score of 82-73.

Will the Pandas be able to stop first-team CW All-Star Huskies forward, Summer Masikewich?

Masikewich is regarded as one of the best players in the country day in and day out. This season, she had another incredible season as she averaged 17.4 points/ game along with 349 points. She also averaged 9.1 rebounds per game along with 181 rebounds, which included 80 offensive rebounds which led the conference. She also was fifth in field goal percentage with 50.8%. In the playoffs, she’s averaging 23.0 points per game along with 46 points in the two games. She also has 23 rebounds in two games.

Image result for summer masikewich
Masikewich goes for a basket (Saskatchewan Huskies)

In the two games against the Pandas, she had 15 points and five rebounds in the 78-71 lost. The next night, she had a double-double with 17 points and 19 rebounds in 82-73 win. If the Huskies end up winning the championship, Masikewich will be one of the many reasons why.

Can Huskies limit first-team Canada West Pandas’ guard, Vanessa Wild?

Wild is coming off career- year where she was nearly unstoppable for Pandas. She averaged 18.0 points per game along 360 points. She also had 121 rebounds. She had 41 steals along with 39 assists. She finished third in the conference in field goals as she made 130/262 shots. During the playoffs, Wild has scored 29 points in the two games. Wild in the two games against the Huskies in regular-season had 15 points and four rebounds in the win. She had her second-best game of the season in the loss to Huskies as she dropped 28 points and two rebounds.

Wild was the only Panda to reach double-digits points per game during the regular season. If the Pandas win the championship, you can bet that Wild will be the reason why.

Will the Pandas hold- off the Huskies high- scoring attack?

The Huskies led the conference in points scored as they averaged 83.0 points/ game along with 1,660 points scored. The Pandas during the regular season held opponents to 58.0 points which were third in the conference. They also held its opponents to shot 33% which was second in the conference.

Will the Huskies excellent three- pointing shooting lead them to victory?

The Huskies, during the regular season were on a point shooting beyond the arc; they led in two out of the three categories dealing with the three-ball. They were first in 3-pt made during a game as they averaged 8.2. They also were first in 3-pt percentage as they shot 34.2%. Lastly, they were third in 3-pt attempts per game with 23.9.

Huskies fifth-year Canada- West all-star guard, Sabine Dukate led the conference in 3-PTs as connected on 59-150 attempts. The Pandas’ has held its opponents 3- PT of 30.2% which ranked 12th in the conference.

Will rebounding battle decided who wins the game?

The Huskies enter the showdown averaging 48.9 rebounds per game which were first, they are also first in a rebound by the margin with 13.8. Saskatchewan finished second in offensive rebounds per game with 18.6. Masikewich led the team in rebounding with 181 rebounds.

The Pandas’ averaged 41.5 rebounds. They finished third in rebounds by the margin per game with 4.3. Wild led the team in rebounding with her 121 rebounds.

Will turnovers be key?

The Huskies, during the regular season averaged 14.6 turnovers per game which were first in CW. They were second in steals per game with 12.5. Lastly, they averaged,3.1 blocks per game which are sixth. The Pandas average 20.3 turnovers per game, they also averaged 10.1 steals per a game. The Pandas led the CW in blocks averaging 4.0. Fourth-year Pandas forward, Brooklyn Legault had 25 blocks which were second in the conference.

Will Huskies win their fifth Canada- West title in seven- years or will Pandas finally win their first-ever Canada-West title after years of being a runner- ups; tune in to Canada- West TV tonight to see.

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