Don't go to the track with anyone from the University of Brandon.
Faculty members from the school in Manitoba's number-two city were hedging their bets on the home team to beat the women's basketball team from the University of Calgary. They couldn't have been more wrong had they picked War Emblem.
The Dinos swept last weekend's season-opening two-game series over the Bobcats, serving up a 47-36 pummeling on Friday, then trouncing their hosts 64-38 on Saturday. The victories were made that much sweeter by the fact that U of C Head Coach Shawnee Harle coached at Brandon before she moved to Calgary.
"It was the perfect start to our season," said Assistant Coach Claire Mitton.
Brandon is one of the tougher road trips in Canada West: a flight to Winnipeg followed by a two-hour bus ride across the frozen Manitoba prairie. The trip itself was quite possibly more of a test for the Dinos than the Bobcats were.
"Brandon was really excited," Mitton recalled. "They were ready to play."
The Dinos had an answer for everything the Bobcats threw at them, and never trailed in the game. Up as much as 18 points, their fortunes were boosted by a 10-2 run in the second half.
"If you had to write the script for that game, it couldn't have been better," said Mitton.
Second-year post Jessica Foltinek recorded a double-double with 15 rebounds and 12 points, while sophomore guard Tanya Hautala led all players in the game with 14 points. Lindsay Maundrell had 12 points off the bench.
If Friday's game was a downer for the Brandon faithful, Saturday's game would have been something akin to dead kittens.
"The game was over in the first four minutes," Mitton stated, noting the Dinos' immediate 17-4 lead.
Only seven minutes in, the Dinos lost Anna Bekkering, the only player with more than a year's worth of experience, to an injury.
"All we had on our bench were kids in their first or second year," Mitton said, recalling the nervous look that she and Harle exchanged.
The "kids" came together, though. Hautala scored a career-high 22 points, and Foltinek came within one point of a second double-double. Maundrell again had a solid game off the bench with 13 points.
The Dinos will face their first true test of the season this weekend when they play the University of Alberta Pandas in Edmonton. As in any sport, there is a huge rivalry between the Dinos and their foes to the north.
"There's not a lot of love lost between these two teams," said Mitton. "Both teams play extremely well when they face each other."