Despite taking the #2 seed into the upcoming Final 4 Basketball Championships, the Red River Rebel women have put some questions into the minds of those who look at the top-ranked University of Winnipeg College Wesmen as the true favourite to grab the conference title this year.
Second-year guard Tia Ruddock was beyond impressive in helping the surging Rebels knock off the College Wesmen twice in the final two regular season matchups of the year between the MCAC’s top women’s teams.
In the first of the two matchups in less than two days, the Rebels found their tenth win of the season (63-46) on a career day statistically for Ruddock. The Grant Park High School product played a full 40 minutes amassing 24 points, 5 rebounds, and going 4/7 from beyond the arc. She committed only 2 turnovers, despite being the Rebels’ primary ball carrier.
The defeat was the first of the season for the College Wesmen.
In the second matchup the following Saturday afternoon, a convincing 69-41 Rebel win, Ruddock put up 18 points in 37 minutes. She added 8 rebounds and 3 steals.
Following Saturday’s win Ruddock spoke on how the Rebels will take their momentum into the playoffs, and how they will approach a possible showdown between the two teams for the 2011 conference title.
“It’s a huge thing, to keep the intensity and to keep pushing each other as teammates,” said the 19-year-old Chemical and Biosciences Technology student. “It’s not only on the court. It’s off the court too. Pushing each other to go hard in practice. Team talk is important for us.”
The Rebels finished their regular season 13-3, and will square off against the #3 seeded Canadian Mennonite University Blazers in the first round of the playoffs.
The 2011 MCAC Final 4 Basketball Championships will be hosted by Providence College March 11 and 12 in Otterburne, MB.
By Darrin Bauming