Watch above: The Saskatchewan Huskies women’s basketball team aims to win back-to-back conference championships. Jack Haskins looks at a team their head coach calls the deepest she’s ever seen.
SASKATOON – The Saskatchewan Huskies will have a target on their back this weekend at the Canada West final four. The dogs have won 15 games in a row, and are the defending conference champs.
“It all boils down to this,” said Huskies head coach Lisa Thomaidis, “being able to perform on demand, and I think our team has a lot of confidence right now.”
Thomaidis believes the Huskies are playing their best basketball of the season, but Saskatchewan’s head coach is determined to keep her team grounded.
“Well coach kind of said something to us,” said Huskies fourth year power forward, Jordan Halvorson. “She said success can breed complacency and that was kind of a quote for us that we were like, no, we can’t ever settle.”
The Huskies will have strength in numbers heading into the Canada West championship weekend. Saskatchewan boasts a deep bench, a group that has outscored its opposition in all but three of Saskatchewan’s 22 games this season.
Thomaidis, a two time winner of the CIS Coach of the Year award, believes this is the best Huskies team she’s ever coached.
“This is the deepest team we’ve ever had. This is the most talented team we’ve ever had,” said Thomaidis. “The ability to go routinely 11 or 12 deep has been a tremendous asset for us.”
The Huskies are elite in several statistical categories. In the regular season Saskatchewan ranked:
- 5th in the CIS in rebound margin and field goal percentage
- 3rd in assists per game
- 6th in turnovers and points allowed per game
But the Huskies greatest strength can’t be found on a stat sheet.
“I would say our friendship and belief,” said fifth year point guard Kabree Howard. “On the court there is always such a good feeling that we’re going to get the job done.”
The Huskies seem to have it all. They have talent, experience, depth, and are led by one of the best coaches in the CIS. But Saskatchewan also has a massive red and white target painted on it’s back; after all, the Huskies are the defending Canada West champions, hence the team to beat.
The Huskies will square off against the Victoria Vikes in the Canada West semi-final on Friday in Vancouver at 8 p.m. PT. A victory against the Vikes would catapult the Huskies into the conference final, and automatically land the dogs a spot at the CIS Final 8 Championship.