The University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s basketball team made its sixth consecutive trip to the U Sports national championship tournament, this time venturing out to Ryerson University in Toronto. Facing tough competition in the final rounds of the tournament, the team finished fourth.
Ahead of the action, Huskies guard Sabine Dukate earned a spot in the U Sports First Team at the annual All-Canadian gala on March 6 in Toronto. The fourth-year arts and science student, who is also the Canada West Player of the Year, became the sixth Huskie to be honoured as a U Sports All-Canadian since Laura Dally in 2016.
The number-three-seeded Huskies played the quarter-final game against the underdogs, the Acadia University Axewomen, ranked sixth, at Mattamy Athletic Centre on March 7.
The Huskies had a slow start as they were trailing by one point by the end of the first quarter. However, an offensive blowout of 25 points during the second quarter gave the Huskies a comfortable 38-28 lead before the start of the second half.
The Axewomen refused to give up, reducing the deficit to three points at one instance during the fourth quarter. But the Huskies were able to fend off the aggression from the underdogs and defeated the Axewomen 77-69.
Two of the Huskies’ forwards dominated in the paint during the quarter-final action. Summer Masikewich scored 25 points and contributed eight rebounds. Kyla Shand had a double-double game, scoring 13 points while recording 10 rebounds.
Sabine Dukate played a rather disappointing game. The Canada West Player of the Year scored only seven points during the game, which is significantly lower than her 16-point seasonal average.
After earning their first victory of the tournament, the Huskies’ progression towards their second national title was halted by the eventual gold medalists, the McMaster Marauders, during the semifinal action on March 9.
Even though the Huskies minimized the Marauders’ threat behind the three-point line, the Huskies still took a passive role as they did not gain the lead at all throughout the game.
The Marauders edged the Huskies out by three points by the end of the first quarter. The Huskies evened the score to 33-33 after scoring 20 points in the second quarter.
Quarter three was decisive to the outcome of the game. The Marauders deployed a full-court defence, pressuring the Huskies into turnovers. The Huskies could not respond to the Marauders’ strategy, allowing the Marauders to take the lead and widen the margin to 12 points.
The Huskies went all out during the final 10 minutes, reducing the gap to four points late in the game. However, the Marauders remained composed and dominated from the free throw line during the final minute, holding back the Huskies until the buzzer went off.
After conceding a 66-73 defeat to the Marauders, the Huskies were sent to play the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the bronze-medal game on March 10. The Huskies flirted with the bronze medal in dramatic fashion as they lost a close one against the Gee-Gees.
The Huskies had an excellent first half as they outscored the Gee-Gees in both the first and second periods, bringing a 14-point lead into the second half.
Yet, it was the third quarter again that put the Huskies in an unfavourable position. Contrary to the first half, the Huskies suffered from an offensive drought, scoring only six points in the quarter. On the other hand, the Gee-Gees were on fire as they registered 21 points onto the scoresheet.
The Huskies’ 14-point lead diminished and turned into a one-point deficit. The Gee-Gees were able to maintain their one- point lead until the end of the game, making the final score 62-63. The Huskies ended the tournament in fourth place.
Photo: Heywood Yu / File