By Tommy Osborne, January 13 2017 —
The Dinos women’s basketball team downed the University of Fraser Valley Cascades 69–59 on Jan. 12 in the annual Pack the Jack event. Live music provided by the Dinos’ brass band pumped up the 1,024 students in the stands ready to cheer on the U of C.
The Dinos stumbled out of the gate, falling behind 16–7 in the first quarter. While the offence struggled during the first quarter and a half — missing 13 shots in a row during the Cascades’ 13-point run — the Dinos picked up the slack midway through the second quarter when they went on their own runs of seven and nine points. Both runs were sparked by excellent steals from second-year guard Shinelle Handzuik. By the end of the half, the Dinos had made it a three point game, trailing their B.C. opponents 26–29.
“It totally shows our tenacity, that we’re a grindy team,” Handzuik said of the team’s’ ability to come back in the face of adversity. “We were 12 men deep and we just managed to run through our whole team.”
The second half started with a bang. First-year Dinos forward Bobbi-Jo Colburn forced a turnover and took the fastbreak layup for a quick two points. Despite a slow start to the game for Colburn, she managed to shine in the third quarter with eleven points and three steals. Brianna Ghali also lit up the stats sheet with seven points, six rebounds and two steals in the third quarter alone.
Ghali had an incredible night, leading the team in points, rebounds and steals by the end of the game with 25, 13 and seven, respectively. Ghali credited her success to her teammates.
“I wouldn’t say those points are just mine, they’re team-created.” she said. “If we get good stops on defence, then we can get everyone out and moving.”
Head coach Damian Jennings was impressed but not surprised by how great Ghali played.
“We know the capabilities of Brianna Ghali. We know that she is a special player — she’s one of the leaders in this group,” Jennings said. “She didn’t start the game particularly well, but then she responded as all stars do.”
By the end of the third quarter Colburn and Ghali had put the game out of reach for UFV, bringing the score to a healthy 59–44 for the Dinos. Second-year guard Erin McIntosh also contributed seven points and two rebounds in an astounding third quarter for the Dinos. The trio of Colburn, Ghali and McIntosh scored 25 of 33 points in the third quarter. The Dinos would go on to win the game 69–59, giving the fans at the Jack Simpson a well-played, hard-fought win.
The high fan attendance certainly provided the team an extra boost of energy. With the support of so many fans, the players were extra motivated to secure the win.
“It was so cool. There were so many people with such great energy,” Ghali said. “In the first half when we weren’t playing very well we felt like we were letting our university and the city down. We really wanted to come back and play well for them.”
Handzuik shared this sentiment.
“It’s always amazing to represent your school and city,” she said. “Obviously we’d want to get a crowd out like that every game, but to have a special event for it is pretty incredible.”
With the win on Jan. 12, the Dinos broke a conference tie with the Cascades, moving to fifth place in the Canada West standings.
“[The game was] really important and so is tomorrow’s,” said Jennings. “You want to add momentum to what you started. Winning today is one single game. We have to back that up tomorrow and it’s not going to be easy because [the Cascades] are a good team.”
The Dinos face the Cascades again on Jan. 13 in the Jack Simpson Gym at 6 p.m.