CIS Women: 2011-2012 Top Five Preview
PHOTO COURTESY: Canada West
WATERLOO,ON–The 2011-2012 CIS women’s basketball season is right around the corner and will prove to be more exciting than ever. NPH women’s analyst, Marian Agyei-Gyamera, put together her selections for the top five teams in the country she feels will be strong contenders in the upcoming season. All selections were made based on 2010-2011 team results, players, and conference difficulty.
NPH will continue to follow the progress of these teams among others throughout the 2011-2012 campaign!
1. WINDSOR LANCERS – OUA
The Windsor Lancers have been a powerhouse for the last two seasons and will continue this trend in 2011-2012. The Lancers won the 2011 championship and were 20-2 last year. This season they will be a strong team with both offensive and defensive superiority in the league. They are guaranteed a strong front court spearheaded by third year forward, Jessica Clemoncon, who is a proven commodity team and game changer. The Lancers also have a great back court with the help of guards Miah-Marie Langois and Korissa Williams. Langois has developed extremely well at the guard position and knows how to run the floor with the best of them. She also played on Canada’s Development Women’s National Team (DWNT), this summer and will bring back some great leadership from the experience. Second year guard, Korissa Williams will also be able to bring skill and knowledge of the game to her team this season. She was on Canada’s Junior Women’s National Team ( JWNT), who ended up placing fifth in this years FIBA U19 World championships! The team will also have bench guidance from head coach Chantal Vallee. The Windsor Lancers ended the 2011 season off as number one according to CIS standings and a National championship! All the pieces are set up, and the lady Lancers have “repeat” on their minds.
2. REGINA COUGARS- CANWEST
The University of Regina Cougars are an overall competitive team with immense talent. The ladies went 19-5 last season. The team consists of players with much experience, skill and a knowledge of the game. Senior guard, Joanna Zalesiak will orchestrate the offense as she led the team with 111 assist last season. With the return of Centre, Brittany Read, the Cougars have another asset to look forward to this season. Read missed the 2010-2011 season due to an injury but is sure to bounce back. Another major player for the Cougars is Lindsay Ledingham. Going into her final year, Ledingham brings a lot to the table. She’s the team captain and offers great leadership. She also has the ability to out rebound her opponents and creates room for scoring in the paint.
3. SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES- CANWEST
The Huskies will be another power team in the upcoming 2011-2012 season. They proved to have a level of consistency 2011, continuously being ranked within the top three from November till March. The Huskies play in the Canada West conference, which proved to be one of the more challenging conferences last season and were still able to win 22 conference games. With the help and guidance of guards Katie Miyazaki (who both played for the DWNT this summer), the Huskies will remain a threat in the CIS. One challenge they will have to deal with will be the loss of four seniors who have exceeded their CIS eligibility. Senior guard, Kim Tulloch averaged 16.9 PPG alone. Remaining team members have a variety of offensive and defensive strengths which will allow the Huskies to remain contenders in the league.
4. WESTERN MUSTANGS- OUA
The Western Mustangs are a relatively young team with great talent. The team will only lose senior forward Matteke Hutzler, who was a great offensive presence, that will be missed. The Mustangs receive a coaching change this season with former University of Victoria coach, Brian Cheng, as new head coach. Cheng brings with him a lot of quality experience, guidance and knowledge of the game. Coach Cheng led the Vikes to a CIS championship in 2003 and could possibly do the same with this new group of players this season. The Mustangs had a great campaign in 2010-2011. They were 19-3 and were one of the only two teams to beat the champion Windsor Lancers last season. The Mustangs received their offensive production from Jacklyn Selfe, Matteke Hutzler and Jenny Vaughan all of whom averaged over 13 ppg during the season. The same intensity can be expected from Selfe and Vaughan for upcoming matchups in the OUA.
5. CARLETON RAVENS- OUA
The Carleton Ravens did well last season going 18-4 and remained undefeated at home. They remained consistent on the CIS top 10 list up until playoffs. This season, the Ravens will lose two seniors, Courtney Smith and Bailey Lomas, but the remaining members of the team, as well as new editions will make up for it. Returning players Kendall Macleod and Ashleigh Cleary will be offensive assets with they’re scoring abilities. They averaged 11.1 ppg and 10.4 ppg respectively. Fourth year guard, Alyson Bush will continue to be an asset to the Ravens back court. She was the OUA leader is assist and second in steals, helping lead her team to numerous victories last season. Bush can only get better from here, which will help her team find success in the long run. The Ravens also have defensive strengths. They were ranked ninth in the country in rebounding and 14th for blocks. With a great group of girls, the Ravens have a promising season ahead of them.