Hoops squad looks to maintain its ranking
By TERRY FARRELL, Herald-Tribune staff
When the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association women's basketball rankings are posted later today, look for the Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves to maintain their No. 11 spot.
Barring disastrous weekends by the top 10 teams, the Wolves certainly will not climb in the rankings, after being tested to the limit by the lowly Augustana Vikings.
The 9-1 Wolves won both games against the 2-8 Vikings in Camrose last weekend and in the large scheme of things, that's all that matters.
Those in the ranking business will not be impressed, however, with the 93-81 (Friday) and 88-87 (Saturday) scores.
"I am not quite sure how the rankings work, I don't know what it's really based on," said Wolves coach Dave Waknuk.
"I can't see us dropping, but it was a bit of a surprise, the way they played us. What we are learning is that when you are winning, teams target you and they were ready for us both nights.
"We had to play well to come away with the wins, but we sure weren't happy to give up as many points as we did."
To be fair, the Vikings have shown that they possess a fairly good offence this season. Statistically speaking, they have a better offence than the Wolves.
The Vikings came into the weekend averaging 71.6 points per game to the Wolves' 65.7.
The Wolves were expected to win this series handily, based on their defence. They came into the series boasting the best D in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, allowing a paltry 53.8 points per game.
The Vikings' defence has been their weak link all season. They are an ACAC worst, averaging more than 86 points allowed per game.
It should not have been close, but it was, particularly Saturday's game.
"What a crazy finish," said Waknuk. "We had a couple of late leads, but they went away. "Then with 15 seconds to go, we are up three and they go to their No. 6 (Kiera Lyons). She pulls up to the corner and hits a three-point shot that ties the game with .6 remaining and sends it to overtime.
"The ref over on that side sees her foot on the line, literally her toe over the line, so he counts it as two. The place was going nuts."
Only 16 people in the entire gym agreed with the call and they were all wearing the red and black of the GPRC Wolves.
"Let me tell you, I wanted to get out of town as quick as possible," said Waknuk.
At least the Wolves escaped the confines of the Augustana gym with two victories.
"We're very happy with where we are (at the break) and the best part is, we all know we can be a better basketball team," said Waknuk.
"It's kind of neat - this week is one year since I took over the team, and if you would have told me a year ago that we would be nationally ranked and tied for first in the league, I would take it every time.
"I couldn't be prouder of the way the girls are playing and working really hard and buying in.
"The attitude and the effort from these girls is exactly what you want. I am really excited for what the second half is going to bring."