Wesmen back in the saddle, can’t wait to go



The University of Winnipeg Westmen took three days off to reflect on their loss in the Canada West women’s basketball final.

They were refreshed on Wednesday, returning to the training ground with an extra spring in their step as they still have plenty to play for – namely the programme’s first national title in 27 years.

As a Canada West finalist, Winnipeg will join conference champions Saskatchewan Huskies at the U Sports National Championship in Kingston, Ont., next week.

Saturday’s 68-59 loss to the Huskies, in front of a rowdy crowd of about 2,000 fans at the Saskatoon Physical Activity Complex, was a bitter pill to swallow.


MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Kyanna Giles at Wesmen basketball practice at the Duckworth Center in Winnipeg. “We didn’t play our best, that’s why it hurts so much,” Giles said.

” width=”1366″ height=”2048″ srcset=”https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/400*400/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00453.jpg 400w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com /images/600*600/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00453.jpg 600w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/700*700/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00453.jpg 700w”/>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Kyanna Giles at Wesmen basketball practice at the Duckworth Center in Winnipeg. “We didn’t play our best, that’s why it hurts so much,” Giles said.

“We didn’t play our best, that’s why it hurt so bad,” fourth-year guard Kyanna Giles said. “If we had played our best, we would have won. But things don’t happen that way, so we have to go back to the gym and work on the little things that we need to work on, like shooting the ball when we’re open, protect the ball and put everything back together so we can win (in Kingston).”

Fifth-year forward Faith Hezekiah swore her team would bounce back.

“It’s definitely a process,” she said. “Coming to training today, all the energy was positive. I really appreciate my teammates trying to create a positive atmosphere and looking to the future, trying to set goals for each day. Looking forward, what we need to do to perform the way we need to at nationals.”

Winnipeg has faced the defending national champions five times, winning two. Saskatchewan’s ability to hold off Canada West Player of the Year Keylyn Filewich — she was held to 12 points — was a big part of the decision.

Winnipeg led 19-8 early before the hosts came back strong.

“She’s a great player in the paint, hard to stop and they gave her a lot of attention and I think the combination of them made some adjustments in defense (hurt us) and I also think we we’re put in our own way too,” Westmen coach Tanya McKay said. “When we go a little in the head we are hard on ourselves and we doubt ourselves.




<p>MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p>
<p>Head Coach Tanya McKay at Wesmen basketball practice at the Duckworth Center in Winnipeg.</p>
<p>” width=”2048″ height=”1365″  data-srcset=”https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/400*400/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00584.jpg 400w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com /images/600*600/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00584.jpg 600w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/700*700/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00584.jpg 700w,https://media .winnipegfreepress.com/images/800*800/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00584.jpg 800w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/900*900/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00584.jpg 900w,https ://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/1000*1000/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00584.jpg 1000w”/>								
<figcaption>
<p>MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p>
<p>Head Coach Tanya McKay at Wesmen basketball practice at the Duckworth Center in Winnipeg.</p>
</figcaption></figure>
<p>“I think with the 2,000 fans screaming behind their backs, there was pressure. That environment was for Saskatchewan to win and we stuck with them all game, until the seven-minute mark of the fourth. quarterback and (Tea) Demong hit a three and it changed the game.”			</p>
<p>In Saskatoon, McKay was forced to move her timeout huddles to midfield to be heard by her players.  The noise factor is unlikely to play a similar role in Kingston, especially if the teams meet again.			</p>
<p>Meanwhile, the Wesmen players are focusing on one of their mantras – “We don’t do much. We do the simple things well” – to prepare for the big stage in Kingston.			</p>
<p>“We all have to come as we are and know our roles and play our roles – no extra stuff, no overthinking, no trying to do too much,” Hezekiah said.  “We tried to do a little too much in the Saskatchewan game.”			</p>
<blockquote class=

“We all need to come as we are and know our roles and play our roles & dash; no extra stuff, no overthinking, no trying to do too much. – Faith Hezekiah, fifth-year forward

To be more specific, she stood out for an honest review.

“I had the ball on the baseline to get it in after Sask scored in the fourth quarter,” Hezekiah said. “Instead of making an easy pass to Anna (Kernaghan) I tried to pass Kyanna over two Saskatchewan players and it was a turnover. Saskatchewan held the ball for 45 seconds and scored a three It’s a big mistake and it could’ve all been solved with an easy pass to Anna.”




<p>MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p>
<p>“It’s out of our control, there’s nothing we can do about it,” said head coach Tanya McKay, who expects her team to be ranked between third and sixth.</p>
<p>“width=”2048″ height=”1365”  data-srcset=”https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/400*400/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00570.jpg 400w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com /images/600*600/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00570.jpg 600w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/700*700/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00570.jpg 700w,https://media .winnipegfreepress.com/images/800*800/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00570.jpg 800w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/900*900/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00570.jpg 900w,https ://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/1000*1000/NEP276488_web_220323-Wesmen-bball-00570.jpg 1000w”/>								
<figcaption>
<p>MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p>
<p>“It’s out of our control, there’s nothing we can do about it,” said head coach Tanya McKay, who expects her team to be ranked between third and sixth place.</p>
</figcaption></figure>
<p>The Acadia Axewomen, Ryerson Rams and Brock Badgers will join Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and host the Queen’s Golden Gaels at the national tournament.  A Quebec champion and at-large bid have yet to be named, so tournament seeds and first-round matches are unknown.			</p>
<blockquote class=

“I think with the 2,000 fans screaming in the back, there was pressure.” – Tanya McKay, Westmen coach

“It’s out of our control, there’s nothing we can do about it,” said McKay, who expects his team to be ranked between third and sixth place. “They’re going to establish the seeds the way they do and the main thing is we want to know who our opponent is in the first round and that’s the goal and we don’t look beyond that.”

Giles’ twin, Kyia, plays for Ryerson and the sisters, who were teammates throughout their careers at Sisler High School and the University of Regina before to transfer two years ago would love to play against each other at the Nationals.

The Kyia Rams will face Brock in Saturday’s Ontario Final before heading to Kingston.

[email protected]

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Comments are closed.