Men will host CanWest Final Four; women travel to UBC
Trailing at half of game three of their Canada West quarter-final series, the Huskies’ men survived a tough weekend against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack as they were pushed to the brink of elimination.
Saskatchewan battled back, led by Matt Forbes’ 30 points as he willed the Huskies to an 84–71 victory against the WolfPack. Unfortunately, the Huskies are now up against an opponent they had a tough time with this season in the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
For the Huskies, they have been hampered by the same issue that nearly cost them a playoff series this year. Their opponents have shot an astonishing 43.4 per cent against the Huskies which ranks them 13th in opponent field goal percentage.
As they have done all year, coach Barry Rawlyk said they will “not make many changes to their system and they just need to make a conscious effort to challenge every shot.”
Looking to reverse their fortunes from their earlier regular season defeats at the hands of the Thunderbirds, the Dogs will need to do a better job of defending without fouling. Over two games in late November versus the T-Birds, the Huskies picked up 55 fouls. The Thunderbirds gained 44 points at the charity stripe because of those fouls. It’s hard to win when you give up so many free points and that is something that will need to be improved on in the game on March 6 if the Huskies are to advance to the Canada West final.
Saskatchewan will need to once again rely on their fantastic bench to provide aid if the starters don’t come out hot. Evan Ostertag had 27 points off the bench versus the WolfPack including a few timely threes. The Huskies’ bench outscored the WolfPack 94–1
9 in their three game series and they will need to be huge again if the Huskies are to lock up a CIS Final 8 spot on Friday night.
Even though they defeated the WolfPack, the Huskies know they have to be better if they wish to survive and advance.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We have to be a lot better if we’re going to compete against those teams,” said Forbes moments after the game three victory. “But we’re up for the task and we’re going to comeback from practice and dominate here.”
While the Huskies’ men host British Columbia’s finest in the men’s CanWest tournament, the women will head on the road out to Vancouver to play in the women’s CanWest Final Four. The Huskies women will go up against the University of Victoria Vikes with a spot in the women’s Final 8 on the line.
The Dogs will draw a favorable matchup as they get the fifth place Vikes, whereas the first place Thunderbirds will go up against the third place University of Alberta Pandas. For the Huskies it’s something they have to be excited about as they ate up the Vikes going 2–0 against them this year. Dalyce Emmerson will be especially enthusiastic as she dropped 17 and 20 on back-to-back nights against the hapless Vikes defence earlier this year.
The green and white will lean heavily on the same workhorses that got them this far. Expect to see a lot of shots hoisted up by Emmerson and Laura Dally. Kelsey Trulsrud will be crashing the glass looking to further improve on her 2.5 offensive boards a game and Kabree Howard will be facilitating the offence as usual.
The Huskies men will host the T-Birds on March 6 at 8 p.m. at the Physical Activity Complex. The women will play the Victoria Vikes in Vancouver with tipoff set for 8 p.m. PST. The women’s game will be broadcast live on canadawest.org. The tournament finals for the men are set at 8 p.m. on March 7 while the women’s are at 9 p.m. PST. A win for either team will secure them a spot in the CIS Final 8 tournament.