WBB: Examining Kiyara Letlow’s incredible season for Cape Breton

Five years ago, the Cape Breton Capers last took home the AUS WBB title. Led on the court by fourth-year senior Alison Keough, who finished second in the AUS in scoring, the Capers pushed to the AUS final against Acadia, which they took 79-61 before they ended the U SPORTS Final 8 in seventh.

Since then, they’ve fallen just short three times, losing in the AUS semifinals in 2018 and 2019 before falling in the quarterfinal in 2020. When the 2022 season resumes, though, a new face to the Caper program that has been quietly stealing the show through the fall semester might be what they need to find themselves back in the national spotlight.

In a league as talented as the AUS, it is remarkable for a first-year player to dominate early on. For Kiyara Letlow, though, it has almost seemed to come naturally.

Kiyara Letlow is averaging 21.4 points and 15.1 rebounds per game in her first year of eligibility with Cape Breton University. The 6-foot-1 forward from Toronto, Ontario, has been dominant, leading the league in scoring.
“Gradually learning how to slow the game down in my head through my coaches and watching film has really helped me to set up my moves better on the offensive end and allow me to rebound more on the offensive end so that I can get into better scoring position to score the ball,” Letlow said.

Letlow watches film every day, and she asks her coaches to analyze what she can do better on both sides of the basketball. She had never watched much film before this season, but it is helping improve her game to take it to another level.

Leading the league in field goal percentage, Letlow is shooting an outstanding 59.8 per cent. However, Letlow attributes her success at getting such great shots to her teammates. Teammates MacKenzee Ryan and Chermensa van la Parra have found Letlow inside and created looks for her.

The Capers were rolling before the semester ended. The Capers needed to get their season going after a four-game losing streak, and they did so winning their last three games, which were all 4-point games; Letlow averaged 23.6 points and 20.3 rebounds per game to help beat her team’s slump. The Capers now find themselves second in the league.

โ€œWe had to sit down and reevaluate as a team where we wanted to be at the end of the year; where we want to be even at the end of that semester,โ€ Letlow said.

While the Capers have a great offence, the team allows the most points per game in the league. Letlow said this is something the team has been working on to improve.

โ€œI would say at the beginning of the year, we definitely struggled a lot, but by the end of the year, we honed in and focused on a lot of our defensive principles, trying to keep the ball from penetrating middle, especially. Communicating more is something that our team definitely needs to work on on the defensive end,โ€ Letlow said.

Searching for their first AUS title since 2017, Letlow will want to make sure the team finishes strong going into the playoffs.

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