Last Friday night, the University of Regina Cougar women’s basketball team celebrated on their own floor after winning the Canada West conference title. The team looks to celebrate another championship on Sunday on their own floor as they get set to host the USports University Championship.
Dave Taylor’s team will open up play at the eight-team event Thursday at 6 when they take on the Laval Rouge et Or in the 2 vs 7 game.
Taylor says the Quebec team will provide a stiff challenge for his team.
“They’re a very tough team. They finished first in their conference during the regular season and in a conference that was maybe the best in Canada this year. They were also the national runner-up last year.” Taylor said. “They have their three top scorers from last year back so we will have to be on the top of our game to move on.”
Taylor says his team is not feeling tight going into the championship and that last week’s win at home over the University of Saskatchewan gives them a huge positive.
“I think it helps in the sense of playing in front of a big crowd and getting a sense of what that feels like.” Taylor stated. “I think we handled the moment well which is good practice for us. We’ve also played some tough, tough games to get here so we are ready.
The tournament will start with the top-ranked Carleton Ravens playing Calgary in a 1 PM start. That will be followed by a contest between the defending national champs from McGill against McMaster at 3. After the Cougars-Laval game, the first day will end with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies trading hoops with Acadia.
On Wednesday night, USports Canada honoured the country’s best in women’s basketball and for the second straight year, a member of the U of R is the national rookie of the year.
Carolina Goncalves (pictured) was named the rookie of the year. Goncalves did most of her damage coming off the bench for the number-two ranked Cougars this season, but was still third on the team with an average of 12.1 points per game during the conference schedule. She was also second on the Cougars with 37 assists while playing just under 22 minutes per game.
It is the second year in a row a member of the Cougars has won the national rookie of the year honor as Kyanna Giles did it last year. Giles was also recognized Wednesday night by being named a second-team All- Canadian.