Underdog Wolves hope to slay the SAIT giants
TERRY FARRELL – Herald-Tribune staff
February 23, 2010
Shock the ACAC world!
That's what Dave Waknuk and his Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves hope to do when they head to Calgary for an ACAC women's basketball quarter-final series against the nation's No. 3 team, the SAIT Trojans.
The games will go Thursday, Friday and, if necessary, Saturday.
"I think we feel pretty good going into the weekend, to be honest," said Waknuk. "The pressure is not on us. No one expects us to win, no one expects us to do well.
"So if we get into the situation that we're hanging around and we're still right there after a quarter, or two, or three, the pressure will build for them. So we just want to go in and play tough."
Although it would be considered a monumental upset, Waknuk believes that it is not beyond the capabilities of his team.
"Our post players, there's no team in the league that has that size at that position," he said. "With Slovakian Katarina Fialova and Andria Carlyon (both 6-foot-2), they have been very strong. If you look at that team (SAIT) I think inside is where we can do some damage and maybe poke a hole in their attack.
"Then we have Jaelle Buhler, who has a lot of playoff experience. Jaelle and Laura Dunsdon will bring that playoff experience in with them and hopefully be a factor."
The Wolves had their final 'tune-up' with a pair of meaningless games against Grant MacEwan in Edmonton over the weekend. Regardless of the results, neither team could move in the standings.
"I felt last weekend against MacEwan, while we didn't get the wins (51-54 Friday and 49-72 Saturday), I felt like we made a lot of good progress from or emotional standpoint and simply from believing what we are doing," said Waknuk. "Friday we had a bad start, but won the last three quarters and had a chance to tie it with a shot at the end. Saturday I started five girls who had never started a college game before and used everybody."
The difference in the SAIT series could come down to nerves.
"We talk about it all the time – it really does come down to confidence and we sort of have two teams," said Waknuk. "There's the one team that comes out and doubts their own talents and own abilities and that team struggles. Then there's the other team that believes in themselves and believes in their teammates and they can achieve great heights.
"If that second team shows up in Calgary I really believe we can be a tough team to play against and we can give SAIT a real challenge."