The future is looking bright for the young women’s basketball team. After starting their season off on an eight-game losing streak, the Dinos flipped the switch and are now heading into the Canadian Interuniversity Sport playoffs as the fourth-seed in the prairie division.
“At the beginning of the year we faced some adversity injury-wise that was mixed in with a very youthful team,” said head coach Damian Jennings. “I am pleased to be making the playoffs.”
The Dinos have come a long way since the beginning of the season. However, they will be tested right out of the gate, as their first matchup is against the University of Fraser Valley Cascades, who are leading a pacific division. The Cascades demolished the Dinos in their second game of the season, winning by 24 points. Despite this, Jennings feels that the Dinos are not overmatched.
“From our point of view, we have had significant growth,” said Jennings. “Whether that turns into something different on the scoreboard, who knows? Sometimes losing by 24 points in one game is an ass beating, and in another game it can just be that shots went down. The scoreboard in basketball can change pretty quickly. All I know is that we will be tough to beat.”
All scars of the regular season are forgotten at the start of the playoffs. Fifth-year guard and Dinos team captain Tamara Jarrett feels that if they stick to the game that saw them go on a 10-game winning streak after the Fraser Valley loss, that they can beat anybody.
“We have been working on our game — we know that if we play a high tempo and we just stick to what we know then we have a shot at anybody,” said Jarrett. “We know that anybody is beatable. So we are coming here at even keel.”
The Dinos have improved tremendously as a team over the course of the season. Jarrett feels that because of this, they will be able to sneak up on the Cascades and pull off the upset.
“It is actually kind of fun because the University of Fraser Valley has been consistently strong the entire way — they have not really grown much,” said Jarrett. “But we have grown so much that it is going to be a shock to them. We are really excited because they do not know what kind of team we are. If they are going off the perception from the game in November, they are going to be really sorry.”
The Dinos will play the remainder of their playoff games on the road, and will be doing so against higher-ranking teams, which can be daunting to young players with no real playoff experience. The experienced Jarrett had some practical advice for her teammates to get them road ready.
“I have been telling all the young girls do not second guess yourself,” said Jarrett. “Just go out there and give it everything that you have got, and there is nothing that you can really lose. Don’t be hesitant, just go full out.”