Focus has shifted to 2021-22 for head coach Joe Di Curzio and the CMU Women’s Basketball program as the Blazers welcome their first recruit commitment of the forthcoming MCAC and NIAC seasons, Maizy Lawson of Winnipeg’s, J.H. Bruns Collegiate.
Despite a relatively late start to competitive basketball, the 6’0 forward has seen her skills blossom through her junior varsity and varsity years at Bruns. A major piece of that development can be credited to the strong coaching she has received in her club programs. Lawson began with the Junior Bison program in 2018 and then moved to TAP (Targeted Athlete Program) in 2019.
“We are very happy to have Maizy joining us,” said Di Curzio. “She is an extremely talented athlete who can play inside and outside. She’s worked hard to improve her game and I believe we have only scratched the surface of her potential. Her length at six-foot or even six-foot-one, her strong understanding of the game, her drive for excel and her passion for basketball are excellent. I believe that Maizy can develop into one of the top players in our league.”
The CMU women’s basketball program is coming off what may be the most successful postseason in the program’s history. Last February, the Blazers started off the month with a come-from-behind win to defeat their prolific MCAC rivals, the Red River Rebels, in the 2020 Manitoba Championship to capture their third consecutive conference banner. The team gave an encore performance of that comeback two weeks later with an even more thrilling championship victory, this time in overtime, when they topped the Providence Pilots in Minnesota at the 2020 NIAC Championships to claim the program’s first-ever banner on US soil.
“Maizy is an outstanding young player who has worked extremely hard to develop her basketball skills and personal fitness over the past two years with us in order to achieve her goal of playing basketball beyond high school,” said Lawson’s TAP coach, Randy Kusano. Kusano, along with Mike Tan and Paul Fust have worked alongside Lawson and other young female players like her, preparing athletes for opportunities and successful transitions into college and university basketball programs. “Maizy will do very well. On top of her ablities, she is an excellent teammate who is always positive and is willing to play in whatever role is asked of her. She’s a well-respected player by both her teammates and coaching staff.”
Some additional good news rolled out recently in MCAC basketball, when Universite de St-Boniface announced a return of both women’s and men’s varsity basketball for the start of the 2021-22 campaign. The sport of basketball has been absent from the list of competitive intercollegiate opportunities at USB for nearly two decades and as the newest regional conference of the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA), the MCAC couldn’t be more thrilled.
“The re-development of basketball in the MCAC has been a major part of our vision for the conference and our strategic plan as we anticipate Manitoba teams participating in all the CCAA’s Tier-1 sports championships,” said CMU Athletics Director Russell Willms, who’s Vice President Technical role with the conference involves both visioning and sport development. “Our conference works very cooperatively when it comes to our direction and goals. The return of basketball at St-Boniface is a very significant step for college basketball in Manitoba, and at CMU we will welcome the opportunity to renew this local rivalry with USB and we wish them continued success as their teams take shape.”