1. Huskies women’s basketball claim first-ever silver medal
Despite losing to the hometown Lancers in the gold medal match at the CIS Final 8 on March 20 in Windsor, Ont., the Huskies women’s basketball team exited the 2010-11 season with numerous reasons to hold their heads high.
The silver medal finish was the best-ever finish the Huskies have seen in their CIS existence, improving on their bronze medal effort in 2010.
The Dogs will look to rebuild next year after reigning Canada West MVP and guard Kim Tulloch, Saskatoon product Jill Humbert, Jana Spindler and Marci Kiselyk all played their final games of varsity eligibility in Windsor.
Nonetheless, as the guidance of veteran head coach Lisa Thomadias has shown, the women’s Huskies should again be top contenders in the Canada West next season.
2. Huskies men’s soccer nearly makes trip to nationals
In their best season ever, the Huskies men’s soccer squad came within one game of reaching the CIS finals for the first time in the program’s history.
After finishing the regular season in fourth place with a 7-4-3 record, a program best for wins in a season, the Dogs stunned the top-ranked Alberta Golden Bears 1-0 in the Canada West semi-final. Sadly, the Huskies could not maintain the momentum and lost 1-0 to the University of British Columbia in the Canada West final.
The silver medal was the program’s best finish ever and only their third appearance in the Canada West playoffs. Had the Dogs won, it would have been the first time the team had qualified for nationals.
Josh Northey had an outstanding season and was named a Canada West first team all-star. His 27 shots on goal were the most of any athlete in his conference and his seven goals and five assists to total 12 points tied him for second among Canada West scorers.
3. Huskies men’s basketball a franchise-best win-streak
Going 18 straight games without giving up a loss is an incredible feat and the Huskies men’s basketball squad did just that this season by putting together the longest win-streak in the program’s history.
Though the Green and White failed to live up to their gold medal finish at last year’s CIS Final 8, the team established that Saskatchewan’s basketball program still runs with the best in the country as they finished fourth at this year’s event.
Their bronze medal loss to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on March 13 is especially not bad considering it was interim head coach Barry Rawlyk’s first kick at the cat.
Rest assured, when Greg Jockims resumes his position as head coach following a one-year leave prompted by the 2010 championship, the Huskies will be ready to contend for a medal in 2011-12.
4. Breanne George hits the ice in Turkey
Breanne George returned from the Winter Universiade in Turkey with a big smile and gold medal draped around her neck after helping Canada secure varsity hockey supremacy on an international stage.
George and the Canadian team knocked off Finland for the golden token by a score of 4-1 on Feb. 5.
George was the lone Huskies women’s hockey player to be selected by the Canadian varsity team. The Dogs’ forward comprised a significant element of Canada’s offensive dominance in the tournament, ripping the mesh seven times and contributing 12 points over the tournament. Her efforts tied her for Canada’s leading scorer of the Universiade.
If it had not been established before, George’s stint in Turkey solidified the CIS All-Canadian as one of the country’s paramount college women’s hockey players.
George has one more year of eligibility remaining with the Huskies.
5. Jamelle Barrett lands in Saskatchewan
When Michael Linklater, Showron Glover, Troy Gottselig and Clint Unsworth departed the Huskies men’s basketball team after a championship season in 2010, many pondered if the Dogs had it in them to repeat what they had never accomplished before — back-to-back championships.
This prospect brightened for Huskies upon the arrival of California product Jamelle Barrett. Interim head coach Rawlyk fondly referred to Barrett as the best player in the country throughout the Dogs’ Final 8 drive. Barrett ran a monopoly on scoring in the CIS, totalling a staggering 600 points throughout the season. He averaged a whopping 25 points per game, collected 84 rebounds and tallied 809 minutes in 2010-11, helping the Dogs make a repeat trip to the Final 8.
Presently, it is unclear if Barrett will opt to return to the Green and White’s line-up next season.
image: Pete Yee/The Sheaf