The Dinos women's basketball team had a pair of matches Feb. 11-12 as important as the pair of humans on Noah's Ark. With a 7-11 record heading into the weekend series, our ladies needed two wins as badly as a high frosh searching for an uh... 7-11. Only by winning both games would the Dinos secure the eighth and final spot in the Canada West playoffs.
Friday night our ladies performed like T-Rexes on a killing spree as they murdered the Brandon University Bobcats 87-39. After getting the first point, the Dinos steered the game like Michael Schumacher and didn't look back.
Their lead was as vast as an ocean at half time with a 41-19 surplus. Head Coach Shawnee Harle played the bench like a three-tiered organ, keeping playtime to a 21-minute maximum for each Dino. Co-captain Tanya Hautala led the Dinos with 22 points. Cory Bekkering followed suit with 16 and Shari Jonker hit for 11.
The Bobcats played like the clip for their 9mm ran out, only getting off 38 shots to the Dinos' 72.
Saturday was as ominous as Y2K, with a win the Dinos would secure a spot in the post-season. However, like vicious bodyguards, the fifth-ranked University of Regina Cougars would be as tough an obstacle for our Dinos to hurdle as a large creek for a cat.
"We couldn't have had a better script," Associate Coach Claire Mitton said with all the benefits of hindsight. "Everybody was rested, had lots of energy and lots of legs. We had unbelievable confidence."
Like the hare from the legendary fable, the Cougars took off, leaving the Dinos in their dust. But they should have listened to their parents at bedtime, their foolish sprint to a 36-22 lead proved to be a mistake.
"When you're in a must win game and down 14 you have two options," Harle bestowed, "you fight or you flee, and we fought in a big way."
In the last five minutes of the half, the Dinos dazzled with a display as daring as David Copperfield, putting a disappearing act on the Cougar lead. By half time they had closed the gap to a 36-all stand-still, led by Hautala with 23 points already.
"Being at home was... WOW!" said a still shocked Mitton of the support from the home crowd. "You always hear about the sixth-man. We experienced that on Saturday."
Despite a couple of bumps during the first few minutes of the final half, the Dinos executed like a guillotine keeping at least a long basket ahead for the remainder of the game. The final buzzer was like a medley composed in heaven. The score read 72-64 and the bench exploded with as much cheer as the Carebears doing their Carebear-stare.
The Dinos placed four ladies in double figures including Hautala, co-captain Lindsay Maundrell, Katherine Adams and Bekkering with 26, 15, 13 and 11 points respectively.
"I didn't think, just went out and played," explained Adams, who made her mark by having a Dinos career high scoring game Saturday.
The number of contributors was as uncommon as birthing octuplets, as the Dinos usually get their points from just one or two main scorers.
"It was the best team win we've had in a long time," confirmed Adams, "everybody stepped up."
The weekend series marks fifth-year Bekkering's last two home games. She will be sorely missed by team-mates and fans alike next year.
Both coaches agree that the teamwork exhibited against the Bobcats and Cougars will be crucial to take down the Simon Fraser University Clan in the first round of playoffs on their lynching grounds Feb. 18-20. SFU rounded out the regular season with a record as perfect as The Beatles "White" album at 20-0. For the Dinos to take the best of three series will take an act of God... or hopefully an act of Harle.
"They're kind of like a mortician," Harle said in simile, "you make a mistake and they dissect you piece by piece."
And it could definitely be a clash as bloody as a gladiator battle. The Clan handily handed Calgary a handy loss during their single bout earlier this year. The Dinos will need all the help they can get, especially that of Canada West's third-best scorer, Hautala, who was held to four points the last time the teams met.
"I've got to go in there and be aggressive and not really worry about it," said the always humble Hautala.
The winner of the best of three match-up in Vancouver goes on to match wits in the Canada West Final Four championships Feb. 26-27.