Wolves in tough against top-ranked Kodiaks
Members of the GPRC Wolves women’s basketball team have their work cut out for them.
As the four seed in the ACAC North Division, the Wolves will begin the playoffs this weekend in Lethbridge against the top-ranked college team in the country: The Lethbridge College Kodiaks.
Lethbridge won both its exhibition games against the Wolves this season, even with some starters sitting out.
While the Kodiaks are clearly the favourite, the Wolves are optimistic.
“We’ve had tough teams all year and we do stats reports on every team we play against,” said Wolves coach Kim Gravengard.
“The girls have prepared themselves well for it. They’re a good team, but they’re not unbeatable.”
The Kodiaks aren’t unbeatable, but they’re as close as you can get. If the Wolves win the best-of-three series they’ll have handed the Kodiaks more losses than they’ve experienced all year.
A 69-58 road loss to the Mount Royal Cougars, Jan. 10, stands was their only defeat this season.
As for the stats report, the Kodiaks have six players with double-digit scoring averages. They have three of the top five players in South Division scoring, field goal percentage, steals and the top two assist leaders.
Guard Kayla Lambert leads the way for the Kodiaks in nearly every one of those categories and shutting her down will be a key for the Wolves if they hope to make it through to the next round.
“She’s a very good player. She’s taken 302 shots and made just about 50 per cent of those. That’s a high percentage,” Gravengard said.
“We’ve practised a bit this week on how we have to defend her, but they’ve got a solid starting lineup overall.”
There’s a noticeable drop-off in production once you get past the Kodiaks starting lineup and a sub. Gravengard hopes to put a chink in the Lethbridge armour by tiring out the Kodiaks starting five.
“They like to go about seven players deep and they don’t go to their bench unless they have to,” she said. “Our big thing is going to be to tire those players out on the floor and trying to keep focused to the fact we’ve got to play the game that’s ours.”
Another potential weakness is the Lethbridge defence.
Kodiaks players are mostly absent amongst the league leaders in blocks and rebounds.
“They’re an offence-oriented team. They do play defence, but it’s not what they like to do,” Gravengard said. “If you can force them to have to run and hustle back they will tire out and they will make mistakes.”
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday. Game time will be 2 p.m. Game three is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, if necessary.