February 15, 2018 11:39 am
Updated: February 15, 2018 11:56 am

Saskatchewan Huskies host long-lost rival in Canada West quarterfinal

WATCH ABOVE: The Saskatchewan Huskies host the Winnipeg Wesmen in the best-of-three Canada West quarterfinal playoffs - their first match up since November 2016.

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The Saskatchewan Huskies women’s basketball team earned home court advantage for the Canada West quarterfinals, finishing second in the conference. However, their opponent is relatively unfamiliar.

It’s been 18 months since the Huskies played the Winnipeg Wesmen in any form of match, and for some, the memory is a little foggy.

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“I don’t (remember)! That was so long ago,” second-year Summer Masikewich said.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Huskies track-and-field pioneer Lyle Sanderson remembered

The last time she played the Wesmen, it was only her third time ever suiting up for Saskatchewan.

“It’s kind of weird. We usually play all the teams and this year is a bit different. Playing a playoff game against a team we haven’t played and we don’t know what to expect really, it’s kind of tricky,” point guard Sabine Dukate added.

Lisa Thomaidis, who is in her 19th year as head coach of the Huskies basketball program, isn’t concerned with their lack of play versus the Wesmen during the past season and a half.

“They have a very distinct style. Their team has changed a little bit from last season, they lost a couple key guards. We’re hoping we’re a year older and wiser from the last time we played them.”

The biggest threats posed to the Huskies from the Manitoba squad are Faith Hezekiah, who is third in the conference for rebounds (10.9/game), and Antoinette Miller, who leads the Canada West with 25.9 points/game. Thomaidis knows the sharp-shooting guard well.

“Antoinette, their key player and leading scorer in Canada West actually played here a few years back so some of our players are familiar with her and what she can do in the offensive end,” Thomaidis said at practice on Wednesday.

“All these two years that we have played against Winnipeg previously, she always wants to prove that she should have maybe been here,” Dukate noted.

READ MORE: Unruh leads Saskatchewan Huskies to thrilling playoff win

The Huskies will be facing a new defensive style of play when they host the Wesmen in the best of three series starting Thursday at 7 p.m. CT.

“We have been practicing against zone but we are struggling. That’s totally OK, we haven’t seen zone this year but I think it’ll be a good challenge,” Dukate laughed.

Saskatchewan finished second in the conference, two points behind the Regina Cougars. The two provincial rivals split in their final weekend of regular season play.

“Our defensive transition was not good against Regina, so hopefully we’ve made a step up with that. And our ball screen defense so mostly from a defensive perspective, so hopefully that’ll pay off this weekend,” Thomaidis added.

The Huskies earned a direct spot into the quarterfinals, while the Wesmen beat the University of Northern British Columbia in a single game play-in 82-65.

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