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.
“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.