HALIFAX, NS – One of the most exciting times of the year finally came; opening night. With a lot to take away, here is an analysis of each team’s performance over the weekend.
St. Francis Xavier University
St. Francis Xavier University lost their opening game to the University of New Brunswick 80-67 but bounced back on Saturday in their 69-61 victory.
StFX ranks second in assists per game after the weekend, as Tahmala Thorpe ranks fifth in assists per game. Thorpe’s scoring and shooting have also been impressive as she is averaging 14.5 points per game while shooting 47.6 per cent from the field and 40 per cent from behind the arc.
Kimberly Kingsbury has lit it up with her scoring. Her 18 points per game will power StFX if they want to find themselves in a good seed at the end of the season.
After a promising preseason and a solid start to the season, StFX can be dangerous.
University of New Brunswick
In their 80-67 win, the University of New Brunswick dominated the boards 45-27, leading to 19 second-chance points. Katie Butts and Jolianne Guay had 12 boards apiece.
However, in their rematch against StFX, UNB was outrebounded 45-32 but still had 12 second-chance points.
Kylee Speedy did not score at a high volume as she only attempted 7.5 field goals per game, but she did it with excellent efficiency. Expect her volume to increase over the next couple of weeks.
Saint Mary’s University
Saint Mary’s University had a stellar preseason, but beating Acadia back-to-back nights is outstanding.
Alaina McMillan exploded with 32 points in the season opener, leading SMU to an 84-77 win. McMillan is capable of doing this on any given night. The crafty point guard can find herself and her teammates for shots.
So far, SMU has the best offence in the league, with an average of 81.5 points scored per game.
SMU can genuinely challenge for the second seed, and they have already sent a message to the league.
After finishing second place in the 2019-20 season, Acadia University lost their top scorer in Haley McDonald.
While there is no reason to hit the panic button, it was a bit shocking to watch Acadia drop their first two games of the season.
Jayda Veinot averaged 18.5 points per game over the weekend but not on the efficiency of her standards. Expect Veinot’s efficiency to shoot up as she is getting used to being the first scoring option on a team with fresh faces.
Elizabeth Beals-Iseyemi seems to consistently command the game with her physicality, which led her to shoot the fourth most free throws over the weekend. This, along with her feel for the game and rebounding ability, averaging 10.5 per game, Beals-Iseyemi should grow into her role and become more comfortable.
Samantha Russell had an impressive AUS debut as she dropped 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Look for these three to lead the way as Acadia looks to bounce back Wednesday against StFX.
Dalhousie University was able to keep it close in their 77-70 loss against Cape Breton University with the help of Andrea Hebert’s 21 points and Brinly Holt’s 17 points. However, the Tigers seemed to fall apart a bit Saturday in their rematch against CBU, losing 78-56.
As Dalhousie is a young team with a new coach, it will take time to get in a rhythm.
Cape Breton University
Starting 2-0, CBU has the second-ranked offence and defence in the league.
As it is a small sample size, more time will need to pass to see how legit all rankings are. However, coming into the season, CBU was a bit of a wild card.
Kiyara Letlow went off for 30 points and 19 rebounds in CBU’s first game and followed it up with 14 points and 12 rebounds in the next game. If Letlow can bring this type of production, CBU will be in good hands with Letlow alongside MacKenzee Ryan, who averaged 16 points per game this weekend.
Memorial University of Newfoundland
It is way too early to judge the Memorial University of Newfoundland as they faced the most challenging opponent possible playing the University of Prince Edward Island.
However, Inés Salat Margarit had an excellent weekend averaging 12 points, seven rebounds and 4.5 assists.
Alana Short did not have a great showing over the weekend as she shot just 11.8 per cent from the field, but expect this to go up as Short finds her rhythm.
University of Prince Edward Island
Last but certainly not least, the University of Prince Edward Island had an excellent weekend. Lauren Rainford was exceptional in Sunday’s game, in which she hung 27 on Memorial.
Reese Baxendale averaged 16.5 points per game. As you can expect her to dominate, Baxendale’s points per game will most likely increase throughout the season.
Jenna Mae Ellsworth had a complete stat line this weekend, averaging 14.5 points, nine rebounds and 4.5 assists.
UPEI are already heavy favourites, but it could be an absolute wash if Rainford produces the way she did this weekend.
With the league’s best defence in the 2019-20 season and the best defence over the weekend, UPEI is a force on both ends.
One of the most exciting times of the year finally came; opening night. With a lot to take away, here is an analysis of each team’s performance over the weekend.