#4 University of Winnipeg Wesmen vs #1 Canadian Mennonite University
Saturday, February 11th – 12:00 PM Duckworth Centre
October 30th: CMU 71 – UW 12
November 15: CMU 79 – UW 29
January 11: CMU 85 – UW 21
The first place team in MCAC women’s basketball find themselves sitting in a very similar position as last season, entering the Final Fours championship in first place and having shown the rest of the conference for much of the season just how lethal they can be. They lead the conference in virtually every category such as points, assists, field goal percentage, 3 pointers, both offensive and defensive rebounds, and no other team contributed more points off the bench this season than the Blazers. Had it not been for a 66-55 loss to the Red River College Rebels on January 20th, the Blazers would be perfect and entering their second-straight MCAC championship with an undefeated record.
The University of Winnipeg College Wesmen had a far different 2016-17 campaign, as they are still looking for their first win of the season. As hosts of the tournament, playing in their own gym surely can’t hurt their chances at putting together what could be the ultimate David vs Goliath narrative. The Wesmen struggled to put together a full squad for the last month of their season and will hopefully have a more formidable bench on Saturday to help combat the juggernaut that is the CMU Blazers.
Players to watch in this matchup will be CMU’s lone senior and captain, Cassie Wiebe, and her teammate and CMU sophomore, Sarah Townsend. Wiebe has scored less in 2016-17 than past seasons but remains to be the straw that stirs CMU’s drink. She ranked second in the conference for assists this season with 3.5 per game and is very clearly her team’s leader. Townsend on the other hand has become the Blazers’ sniper, ranking second in conference scoring, first in productivity and first in 3 pointers made, averaging just under 3 per game.
#3 Providence University College Pilots vs #2 Red River College Rebels
Saturday, February 11th – 2:00 PM Duckworth Centre
November 22: RRC 56 – PUC 46
January 14: RRC 63 – PUC 47
January 27: RRC 73 – PUC 51
Very similar to last year’s Final Fours, Providence enters this postseason in the middle of the pack while Red River College is on a late season surge. When asked about his team’s current state entering the final tournament, PUC Assistant Coach Joey Traa likes the determination he sees from the Pilots.
“We’re a scrappy team who is really starting to peak at the right time right now. Currently playing our best basketball, I think we can really turn some heads”.
One of Providence’s great strengths lies within it’s mixture of talent throughout the roster, never relying on just one player and playing a more team oriented style of ball. With only 3 rookies on their team this season, the majority of PUC’s roster already know the ins and outs of the MCAC’s win-or-go-home final tournament.
The Rebels feature 5’3” sophomore guard, Zera Lynn Panesa, who leads the league in scoring with 19.5 points per over 8 games, including an average of two 3 pointers made per game. Two of RRC’s losses this season were due to forfeit as they were unable to field a full team, so don’t let their record fool you. The Rebels are arguably the most dangerous team in the latter half of this season and as the 2015-16 women’s basketball Coach of the Year, Jaenas Pangilinan, has shown in years prior, he is more than capable of bringing a squad together when it matters most. Red River enters this weekend having won the last five-straight MCAC championships.
Players to watch in this semifinal matchup include 5’11” sophomore, Britta Enns-Kutcy, who has been patrolling Red River’s paint to the tune of 3.5 blocks per game this season. The aforementioned Zera Lynn Panesa will also be an integral part of the Rebels’ scoring and the Pilots will be hard pressed keeping her off Saturday’s scoresheet.
5’8” junior forward Courtney Engel will be a piece of the PUC lineup that will need to play well in order for the Pilots to keep up with Red River’s scoring. Averaging 10.5 points per game this season, Engel is a big, strong presence who is good at creating her own opportunities around the hoop.