Wesmen #6 Kaitlin Rempel goes up for a basket against the University of Manitoba Bisons last weekend. – Garrett Elias
Both the University of Winnipeg’s men’s and women’s basketball teams rekindled their cross-town rivalries in their regular season openers last weekend.
The Wesmen men took on the U of M Bisons on Friday, Oct. 22 at the Investor’s Group Athletic Centre.
While U of W lost 108-88, the final score did not represent the entire game.
The first quarter was exciting and close, with the Wesmen’s Nick Lother and Bisons’ Eric Garcia opening the game with back-to-back three pointers. For the first half, the Wesmen kept up with the Bisons by hitting the boards, diving after loose balls and playing together at both ends.
Unfortunately, the Bisons came out strong and picked apart the Wesmen offence. A number of steals by the Bisons lead to easy transition hoops and, during the third quarter, the Bisons outscored the Wesmen 30-16.
“We got caught up in their tempo and didn’t play to our strengths,” reflected fourth-year guard, Craig Penniston. “We beat ourselves.”
Coach Mike Raimbault was not pleased with the game’s result, but is optimistic about the upcoming season. With such a young team, he expects a lot of growth in the first half of the season.
“We were disappointed with the outcome of Friday’s game, but it provides us another opportunity to learn and continue growing as a group.”
Women win in Bisons’ territory
The Wesmen women pulled together in their match against the Bisons at the U of M to come out on top with a final score of 65-47.
“We went into the game feeling anxious and excited to play, and we really performed well as a team,” said first-year guard Yael Kaplan. “I couldn’t imagine a better start to our season.”
The Wesmen dominated at both ends of the court, controlling the Bisons’ captain and best three-point shooter, Kayla Klassen, from the start of the game.
Coach Tanya McKay believes it was the team’s defence that made the difference for the Wesmen.
“It was a great team effort,” she said. “We are deep, athletic and hard working. We were very happy with how our team defence created opportunities.”
Offensively, the Wesmen started out strong by hitting open shots and playing together. They outscored the Bisons 31-19 in the first half. U of W continued to control the game in the second half, owning the inside game and the boards.
The Wesmen’s forwards boxed out hard, which allowed the guards to sneak in and steal rebounds. Wesmen guards Stephanie Kleysen and Mackenzie Prasek had 10 and 7 boards respectively.
U of W’s Kleysen and Amy Ogidan each had 13 points, with Catie Gooch adding another 10. First-year athletes Kaplan and Ashleigh Chichlowski came off the bench and added to the intensity on the court. Kaplan’s aggressive play frustrated the Bisons’ guards, while Chichlowski’s eight points helped the Wesmen offensively.
Second-year forward Alyssa Grant was pleased with the team’s season opener and is excited for their first home game against Calgary on Friday, Nov. 5.
“It was a great way to start the season off,” she said. “It was a team success and everyone contributed, whether it was on the court or on the bench. Our energy never wavered and hopefully we can continue that through the next two weeks and come out strong against Calgary.”