Huskies capture conference bronze: Miyazaki wins third-straight defensive award

Riley Humbert of the Huskies looks for a shot as the Cascades’ Sam Kurath defends.

It was the combination of an established veteran and a motivated rookie that led the Huskies women’s basketball team to a bronze medal March 3 and 4 at the Canada West Final Four tournament in Regina.

The veteran came in the form of the Dogs’ best player throughout the regular season, Katie Miyazaki. The fifth-year guard not only won her third-straight Canada West defensive player of the year award, but also earned a conference first team all-star mention for her strong performance this year.

On the weekend, Miyazaki stepped up and performed like she has all season, leading the team onto the court in their first match against the No. 2 ranked UBC Thunderbirds. She set the tone for that game, recording 20 points and a game-high six steals.

The T-Birds came prepared, though, and a close game through three quarters of play suddenly became one-sided when UBC went on an 11-2 run early in the fourth quarter to go up 16 points. The dominance continued from there when the T-Birds’ Kristjana Young peaked late in the game with 11 points in the final 10 minutes, steering her team to a 72-55 victory.

With the loss, the Huskies found themselves facing the Fraser Valley Cascades for the bronze medal. It was during this game that the motivated rookie, Dalyce Emmerson, took control. A player who has been turning heads all season, Emmerson continues to improve game after game and was awarded for her regular season play by being named the Canada West rookie of the year.

She tallied 11 points and 8 rebounds in the bronze medal match.

The Huskies got off to a quick start, holding a 33-26 lead at the half. They kept the momentum rolling, maintaining a 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Another late game rush by the opponents, however, put Saskatchewan on their heels. The Cascades closed the gap to two points with just 36 seconds to go in the game.

A vital rebound picked up by Emmerson kept the ball in the Dogs’ hands as time ran out and sealed a 71-65 victory.

UBC went on to beat the previously undefeated Regina Cougars to clinch the gold medal. With the win, UBC gets an automatic berth in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championship tournament later this month.

Regina will have a chance to qualify for the championship in this weekend’s West Regional Tournament starting Friday, March 9 at the Physical Activity Complex in Saskatoon. The Huskies, being the host team, will also compete for a spot at nationals.

[box type="info"]Saskatchewan kicks off the tournament against Concordia University at 6:15 p.m.[/box]


Photo: Marc Messett/The Carillon