It looked good for the Dinos women's basketball team until they opened their Christmas presents to find an iceberg that would damn them all to the depths of the Canada West ocean.
"It's felt like the iceberg has hit us," commented Head Coach Shawnee Harle. "We haven't been able to play to the level I think we're capable of."
After opening the season 10-3 before the break, they have gone 3-10 since. The University of Saskatchewan Huskies contributed two of those losses Feb. 4-5.
Tanya Hautala came out on fire Friday night despite a lack of support from the lower deck. The Dinos managed to tie it up at 19, just before Huskie lady Sarah Crooks, a top contender on the CW scoring scroll, went on a 6-0 run through the park by herself.
Crooks' points put the Huskie women back on course to victory. At half-time the Huskies were up 41-33. Hautala was two behind Crooks who had 22 at the break and won CIS Female Athlete of the Week for her efforts over the weekend.
Alas, the wind did not catch the Dinos' sail. They continued to trail in the dying minutes and fought hard. The score was put into a treasure box, locked in and buried under the X at 76Â°-64Â°. Hautala jumped off the plank with 25 points and Whitney Haswell joined her with 12.
Notable were those scallywag referees, awarding the Huskie women with 30 free-throw attempts of which they converted 28. So despite out-shoot-ing-per-cent-age-ing the Huskie women, our rough-and-tough Dinos were vanquished by the charity-stripe.
"It seemed like every time we got a lead and some momentum we couldn't hold onto it," Harle admitted. "Both nights in the last five minutes we made too many little mistakes."
Everything was calm Saturday night and the Dinos ladies were having a ball. The Dinos earned their first lead of the weekend and held on, leading 22-15 at their apex. And then it hit. No one noticed anything at first, but by the half the ladies were in water up to their ankles, trailing 42-31. Lindsay Maundrell had managed to "sink" 14 points already.
"It didn't feel like we were getting our butts kicked," mentioned Maundrell of the two games.
It was a free-for-all for the remainder of the game. As most of the Dinos jumped into their safety rafts, Maundrell (the band) went down playing. She bested Hautala's performance the preceding night with 26. Cory Bekkering added 10 to her name.
"We've missed Lindsay's scoring most of the year," Harle confided. "She needs to bring her "A" game this weekend."
As the scoreboard read 78-64, the Huskie women got the chance to yell: "I'm the king of the world!"
And so they should, the two wins rocket them into a secured home-court advantage for the first round of CW playoffs. There is still one spot on the playoff space-shuttle reserved for the Dinos (7-11), University of Alberta Pandas (8-10) or University of Lethbridge Pronghorns (6-12). The two losers will be vaporized.
"It's kind of exciting to be in a do-or-die situation," granted Harle. "You find out what you're made of."
Come support our ladies against the University of Brandon Bobcats Fri., Feb. 11 and the University of Regina Cougars Sat., Feb. 12. Both games are in the Jack at 6 p.m.
"We've got to play like it's our last game," promised Haswell.
And rightly so.