Heading to one of the toughest gyms in the ACAC, and with the potential to lock up a playoff spot in the ACAC North Division, the GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team was in Camrose this past weekend facing the U of A – Augustana Vikings. A physical battle both days, the Wolves came out on top sweeping the Vikings and clinching their place in the ACAC Playoffs in Lloydminster in early March.
Friday night, a raucous Augustana crowd awaited the Wolves, but did not faze them as they went on to the 67-58 victory. Defensively is where GPRC made the difference, forcing 27 Vikings turnovers and holding the home team to 3 points in a decisive 2nd Quarter. Third year Guard, & Wovles leading scorer, Jackie Elgert was named Player of the Game, scoring 21 points. First year Guard Jessa Ivicak was also a key contributor for the visitors scoring 12 points & grabbing 9 rebounds, while second year Guard Chelsea Deblois & fourth year Forward Linnaea VanderZwan both chipped in with 7 points in big minutes.
Saturday afternoon was an uphill battle for the shorthanded Wolves, struggling out of the gate to an 11-6 deficit after one Quarter. Not able to chip away at the Augustana lead, GPRC found themselves down as much as 9 in the 3rd Quarter. A determined Wolves squad came out flying in the fourth, and took their first lead of the game half way through the Quarter, never looking back on the way to the 55-50 win. It was an impressive display of resilience by the feisty Wolves squad as they finished the game with only six players due to injury and foul trouble. Kelly-Ann Sawatzky was named Player of the Game thanks to her 12 points and 10 rebounds in battling an imposing Vikings front line. Duo of third year Guards Megan Belcourt & Jackie Elgert led the Wolves in scoring with 13 points a piece, with the impressive Elgert also getting 4 steals before going down with a rolled ankle early 4th Quarter.
A gritty display in a tough road environment, the GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team now sits at 12 wins & 6 losses and securely places themselves third in the competitive ACAC North Division. Despite a playoff spot being locked up, the work isn’t done for the Wolves who will continue to battle hard with three weekends of games left on the schedule, including two featuring the top two teams in the North. A bye weekend is up next for the Wolves who will look to heal up before heading to Edmonton to face The King’s University Eagles Feb 5/6 in their final road games of the regular season.
This past weekend the GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team made the long journey to Fort McMurray for a two game series with the fifth place Keyano Huskies. Splitting with the Huskies at home in the first semester, the Wolves were in for a tough series far away from the comforts of home.
Friday night saw the Wolves come out flat, falling to an early 19-4 deficit. Quick to turn it around, GPRC finished the 1st Quarter on a 10-0 run to narrow the margin to 5 heading into the 2nd Quarter. Staying at 5 heading into half, a determined Wolves squad won both the 3rd & 4th Quarters on route to a 71-65 victory. Rebounding was huge for the successful visitors, who were able to grab 17 offensive rebounds in the game. Second year Forward Kelly-Ann Sawatzky was named Player of the Game, scoring 11 points, to go along with 8 rebounds & 5 steals. The bench was key for the Wolves as first year Guard Jessa Ivicak scored many key baskets in the 2nd Half on the way to 19 points, and second year Guard Chelsea Deblois chipped in with 10.
Saturday afternoon saw another slow start for the Wolves Women, trailing 12-8 after one. It was a 17-8 2nd Quarter that sparked the Wolves, and they didn’t look back winning every Quarter after on the way to the 68-56 win, completing the road sweep. Once again GPRC was active on the glass grabbing 15 offensive rebounds & outrebounding Keyano, but it was a 20/25 performance from the foul line that kept the physical Huskies at bay. Player of the Game was handed out to third year Guard Jackie Elgert, who tied to lead all Wolves scorers with 11 points, while also contributing 6 assists & 5 steals. Sawatzky again had a solid all-around game with 11 points, including 5 for 6 from the line, & 13 rebounds, and the bench was led by first year St. Albert duo Riki Steward & Jessa Ivicak, who contributed 11 & 10 points respectively, to go along with a combined 16 rebounds.
Wolves Open Second Semester with Home Split
January 11, 2016
Heading into the second semester, looking to build off a 7-5 start & third place position in the ACAC North Division, the GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team hosted the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder to open play January 8th & 9th.
Friday night, an energetic Wolves team locked in defensively from the opening tip, holding the visiting Thunder to 12 first half points on the way to a 29-12 lead. Both teams showed their holiday rust as baskets were hard to come by, but the feisty Wolves found themselves with a lead as big as 19 in the third quarter. A late run by Concordia saw a final of 57-50 for GPRC, with fourth year Forward Linnaea VanderZwan leading the way with 12 points & being named Player of the Game. Riki Steward, first year Forward from St Albert, contributed 10 points off the bench, and forward Kelly-Ann Sawatzky had a solid all around game with 8 rebounds & 5 assists to go along with her 8 points.
Saturday, unfortunately for the home Wolves, saw a role reversal with the Thunder jumping out to 35-20 halftime lead. Offense again was a struggle for GPRC, but they still managed to battle back within 5 several times over the course of the second half. Unable to fight over that final hump, the Wolves ended up falling at the hands of the visitors 57-52. Third year Guard Jackie Elgert was named Player of the Game with 16 points, Sawatzky had another solid game with 8 points & 12 rebounds, and first year Guard Jessa Ivicak led all scorers off the bench with 8 points in heavy minutes.
An admittedly disappointing weekend for the Wolves being unable to protect their home court, but with a lot of season left & playoff positions yet to be decided, they will learn from it to push forward. Next weekend the GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team finds themselves making the long journey to Fort McMurray to face the Keyano Huskies.
Wolves Women Get Home Sweep!
November 10, 2015
Coming off a tough weekend away, the GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team was able to bounce back in a big way with two home wins against The King’s University Eagles, from Edmonton. The Wolves offense was clicking from the jump on the way to victories of 76-44 Friday, and 73-44 Saturday.
Friday night, it was a 25-6 1st Quarter that set the tone, and despite King’s battling hard in the 2nd & 3rd, GPRC were just too much on the way to the 32 point win. Third year Guard Jill Cole was named Player of the Game hitting three 3s on her way to a career high 13 points and 4 assists. Three other Wolves hit double figures, and second year Forward Jesse Gibson had 7 of the Wolves 18 assists in a real team effort.
Saturday was more of the same for the Wolves Women, as they won every Quarter on route to the 29 point victory. Sharing the ball was once again the theme, with 22 assists on 28 made baskets for the energetic Wolves squad. Player of the Game went out to third year Guard Megan Belcourt, who had a very impressive and well rounded game of 16 points, 2 steals, 2 assists & 4 rebounds, while hitting all her free throws. Once again, three other Wolves were in double figures, and first year Guard & local Charles Spencer grad, Kayla Raiwet led all GPRC bench scorers with 7, including a made three.
The Wolves resume play November 20/21 with an away series at last year’s first place team, the Lakeland Rustlers, in Lloydminster. A great way to head into the their bye weekend, proving their offensive acumen, but the GPRC Wolves Women will continue to push hard as they prepare for two more weekends of action in the first semester of ACAC North play.
Wolves drops two on the road
November 2, 2015
The GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team traveled to Edmonton to face the NAIT Ooks on Halloween weekend & came up short in two games against a strong, talented & experienced Ooks team.
Friday night saw the Wolves Women fall 70-57, with a strong NAIT third quarter being the difference. Down six heading into half, the Wolves struggled in the third & despite rallying some in the fourth quarter, came up short. Third year Guard Jackie Elgert was named Player of the Game, scoring 18 points & shooting 7-15 from the field, with a couple made threes.
Saturday afternoon was a struggle for GPRC, falling 83-48. Elgert and Guard Megan Belcourt led the Wolves with 9 a piece, but it was second year Forward Jesse Gibson who was named Player of the Game, scoring 8 & grabbing 8 rebounds. A tough loss for the Wolves, but it will be used as a learning experience going forward.
Next weekend sees the GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team host the King’s University Eagles, from Edmonton, who will be a tough test, as the Wolves look to get back to their winning ways!
Wolves Split Home Opener
October 27, 2015
The GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team hosted the Keyano Huskies, from Fort McMurray, this past weekend in their first home games of the year. A tough test against a talented playoff team from last year, the Lady Wolves were able to come out with one win & one loss for the weekend.
On Friday night, with a big crowd to support them from opening tip off, GPRC jumped out to a 29-16 halftime lead. Lead by third year Guard Megan Belcourt, who scored 13 points & was named Player of the Game, the Wolves advantage grew to as much as 26 in the 3rd Quarter, with the final score finishing 56-44. Guard Chelsea Deblois, second year player & local Grande Prairie athlete, was a key contributor off the bench with 8 points & 2 made three point baskets.
Saturday afternoon once again saw the home team grab an early lead, up 12-9 after the 1st Quarter. The difference in the game was Keyano’s 22-8 2nd Quarter, which despite the Wolves winning the other three Quarters, they were not able to overcome - losing 57-54. The GPRC Women did have a few chances late to tie the game or take the lead, but came up just short. Despite the setback, & first loss of the year, it will be a key learning experience for the Wolves going forward. Third year Guard Jackie Elgert was named Player of the Game, scoring 9, & Belcourt once again had a strong offensive performance leading the Wolves with 14 points, including a couple made threes. Fourth year Forward Linnaea VanderZwan was once again a solid contributor for GPRC scoring 7 points, grabbing 4 rebounds & blocking a shot in the game.
The GPRC Wolves Women currently sit at 3 wins & 1 loss, grabbing an early second place spot in the ACAC North Division, and will travel to Edmonton for a Halloween weekend showdown with the 2-0 NAIT Ooks.
Wolves Women Open with Two Wins on the Road!
The GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team started the season with a rare Saturday night, Sunday afternoon road trip at Concordia and were able to come away with two gutty wins to start the year.
Saturday saw the Wolves battle back from being down 10 early in the 4th Quarter to come out on top, with a Jackie Elgert steal & lay-up with under a minute to go being the difference. Elgert was the Wolves leading scorer with 14 points, Guard Megan Belcourt pitched in with 13, & Kelly-Ann Sawatzky was named Player of the Game, scoring 9 & grabbing 11 rebounds – including a key late one on a Wolves missed Free Throw to seal it. Concordia was led by Ann Stewart & Lindsay Piper with 12 points apiece as the final score ended up 62-58 for GPRC.
Sunday afternoon, the lady Wolves controlled the game from the start, with consistency being a theme they wanted to bring after having an up & down Saturday night. GPRC jumped out to a 32-24 Halftime lead and didn’t look back as Wolves went on to victory 60-50. Once again, Elgert was the leading scorer & Player of the Game with 18 points – hitting 9 of 11 Free Throws, Sawatzky had another well rounded game with 11 points & 8 rebounds, and Riki Steward, Jesse Gibson & Linnaea VanderZwan all provided the Wolves interior with defensive energy on their way to 6 rebounds each.
It was an exciting start for the 2015-16 Wolves, who fed off a crowd littered with Alumni, family & friends who made a pair of opening road games feel like home! GPRC is hoping to continue the positive start & winning ways as they host the Keyano Huskies in their home openers & Cancer Awareness event this weekend, Oct 23/24, at the GPRC Gymnasium.
Women's Basketball signs International student
GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball is pleased to announce the signing of Charlotte Thomas-Rowe, international student athlete coming to the program from London, England.
A dynamic 5’7” guard, who last played in Denmark for the Lemvig Basket in the Dameligaen Pro Basketball League, as well as the Division 2 league, will be a strong addition to the Wolves backcourt.
Thomas-Rowe, who formerly represented her Regional team in London, found immediate success last year, her first in Denmark playing for Lemvig, as the team finished first during the Regular season. Known for her athleticism, defense, intelligence and mid-range game, the late summer addition will be looked at as an impact player from day one for the Wolves.
Charlotte will be a key piece both on & off the court for the 2015/16 GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team and the coaching staff is eager for her arrival to begin working with the team!
Welcome to the Wolf Pack!
GPRC Wolves Elite Camp, a great success
This last weekend saw athletes from all over the Peace Region, including Beaverlodge, Sexsmith, Fairview, Jasper, High Prairie, La Crete, Fort St John, Dawson Creek and Yellowknife, NT attend the annual GPRC Wolves Elite Basketball Camp.
Guest coaches Steve Sir and Lee Danderfer, along with Wolves Head Coaches Graeme Ryder and Thomas Slifka, brought a wealth of basketball skill and knowledge to the Camp, giving the athletes a chance to learn from some very talented coaches and players.
Sir, who played professionally for 8 years, holds two NCAA 3 point records and also played for San Diego State, Northern Arizona and the Edmonton Energy talked about training with detail and overemphasizing things. “If we take shortcuts in practice we will never be able to repeat those skills in a game”. Sir also talked about finding what is going to make someone special, adding that “not all of us have great athleticism or size, so, we have to find a different way to be successful”.
New GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball Coach, Thomas Slifka remarked that "having Steve at our Elite Camp was such a fantastic experience. Steve’s knowledge of the game is broad and every person in our gym this weekend now understands basketball on a deeper level, including the parents and coaches."
Danderfer, a Grande Prairie native who played for the ACAC’s Augustana Vikings and CIS’s MacEwan Griffins was coached by Slifka who stated that he “had the pleasure of coaching Lee at MacEwan and there aren't many people who have spent more time in a gym than Lee. He is a true success story who has exceeded expectations everywhere he goes” going on to say that “he is great role model to young basketball players”.
Danderfer talked to the young athletes about working hard and not listening to people who try to discourage you. "Everyone told me I wasn't fast enough, big enough, I wasn't from a big town and I wasn't recruited. I'm here to tell you that it doesn't matter. I'm a 5 foot 10 inch kid from Grande Prairie, Alberta” said Danderfer, echoing Coach Slifka’s comments about hard work and determination.
Along with basketball skill sessions the camp featured guest appearances by Matthew Bain (MMB Counselling & Consulting, Alberta Sport Development Centre NW, & GPRC) and Richard Sylvester (Alberta Sport Development Centre NW).
Bain, a Mental Performance Consultant (MPC) - Canadian Sport Psychology Association, did an hour classroom session with the athletes introducing some mental skills that can be applied to high level sport performance. Working with high level athletes ranging from GPRC Wolves teams to Provincial & National level athletes, Bain was able to introduce the athletes to the mental side of the game which becomes more important as the level of sport performance increases.
Sylvester, Master of Sciences – Kinesiology & Head Trainer for ASDC NW, used his hour session to take the campers through some on court training exercises he uses to train College, University & National level athletes. The athletes got a sweat on as they went through a warm up & then concentrated on exercises designed to improve their sprinting efficiency.
New GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball Coach Graeme Ryder, commented that “with this being the only Elite Camp offered in the Peace region, GPRC Wolves Basketball programs felt it was important to include Mental Skills and Strength and Conditioning sessions to show the next wave of Wolves athletes the other aspects of high performing sport expected off the court.”
Wolves Connections To Westerns Team Alberta
August 20, 2015
Team Alberta U16 Girls recently competed at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games in Wood Buffalo this summer and the team's coaching staff had a distinctive GPRC vibe.
Newly named GPRC Women's Basketball Head Coach, Graeme Ryder was an assistant coach for the Alberta U16 team for the second straight summer. He teamed with Wolves former coach, Dave Waknuk, who headed up the Alberta team. They were joined by GPRC Alumni and two time GPRC Female Athlete of the Year, Andria Carlyon, who assisted for the first time with Basketball Alberta.
The team was complied of the top athletes from throughout the province, selected in April. The team trained together in Edmonton and Calgary and competed in various tournaments, including in Seattle and Langley, BC. Team Alberta finished ought at the Western Games, losing to BC in the bronze medal game by eight points.
It was a great experience for the Wolves alumni to work together again, as a coaching staff. Carlyon will return to her assistant coach position at Augustana, while Waknuk begins his new path as Assistant Coach at the University of Lethbridge. Graeme Ryder begins his new chapter with the Wolves in early September, when the team's training camp kicks off.
GPRC Wolves 2015 Women's Basketball Identification Camp
Dates: Friday, April 10th – Saturday, April 11th, 2015
Location: GPRC Gymnasium
Friday, April 10th, 2015
5:00pm – Registration
5:30pm – 7:30pm: Session #1 - This session will be on the court and focus on individual skills and scrimmage situations.
7:30pm - 8:30pm: ASDC Mental Training Session - This will be a classroom session that will focus on mental skills led by Mental Skills Coach, Matt Bain, who will be working with the team again this season.
8:30pm – 9:30pm: GPRC Campus Tour – This will be a tour of the GPRC Campus for all new recruits. It will provide information about our institution and its programs.
Saturday, April 11th, 2015
8:15am – All athletes must be changed and ready to begin the testing
8:30-11:00 am: Session #2 -- Fitness Session/Individual Skills - This will be when athletes will be tested through physical fitness tests by the Wolves Coaching staff. This will also feature a session focusing on Individual Skill on the court.
11:00am - 11:30pm: Strength & Conditioning Information Session- This will be an information session about the team's Strength & Conditioning program, and about off season and in season training.
11:30am - 12:30pm: College Residence Tour - First year students will have a chance to tour the College Residence and learn about the application process
11:30am - 12:00pm: Wolves Junior Information Session (for all athletes in Grade 10-11) - This will give the athletes an idea of what the Wolves program is about & what is required to be a student athlete.
1:15pm-3:00pm: Session #3 -- Scrimmage - This will be the final session of the weekend, where we will have 5v5 scrimmages, etc. while the coaching staff individually talks to the athletes
Steward Signs with Wolves
March 26th, 2015
GPRC Women’s Basketball recently announced the signing of Riki Steward, who joins the Wolves from St. Albert Catholic High School.
The 5’11 power forward will help strengthen the Wolves front line next season, as Riki was a key piece to her high school’s team success. Riki plays with toughness on both ends of the floor, as she is a relentless defender, who often had to guard the opponent’s biggest and best player.
Riki averaged 10 points per game and 6 rebounds for the Skyhawks, who captured their second consecutive silver medal in the Edmonton Metro League this year. SACHS were amongst the top ranked 4A schools in the province all year and finished fifth at Provincials. Riki was named an All-Star at the SkyHawk Invitational Tournament for the second consecutive year.
St. Albert Head Coach, Paige Gaudreau said, “Riki was a huge presence inside banging with the post and being a threat on offence this year. Because of her attack mentality, she got to the line the most of any player on the team. Riki worked super hard and was an integral part of the team’s success this season.”
Riki Steward will be a key piece of the Wolves program next season, when the 2015/2016 season starts in September.
GPRC Adds Skyhawk
March 25th, 2015
Jessa Ivicak from the St. Albert Catholic High SkyHawks has recently committed to become a member of the GPRC Wolves for the 2015/2016 season. An aggressive guard with a scoring touch, Ivicak will bring her basketball IQ and competitive spirit to the Wolves.
Jessa comes from an environment of winning, as the SACHS SkyHawks are one of the top high school programs in the province. In her time with the team, Ivicak has been a part of the 3A Provincial Champions in 2013 and a team that finished in the top five of the 4A standings in 2014 and 2015. In Jessa’s time with the SkyHawks, the team complied a dominant 102-11 record. This year, Jessa was an important piece to her high school team, as she was a starting guard and one of their leaders in scoring this past year. She averaged 12.3 points per game for her team, alongside 8 rebounds per game.
“She was the teams most consistent Skyhawk, contributing on both ends of the floor,” said SACHS Head Coach Paige Gaudreau . “She was a threat from three and inside and shot 75% from the free throw line. Jessa's ability to battle no matter what the situation is an admirable quality and the team will miss it”.
Jessa is no stranger to Wolves Head Coach, Dave Waknuk either, as she played for the Team Alberta U15 team in 2012, which Waknuk was an assistant coach with. Ivicak ia another key recruit for the GPRC Wolves, as they prepare for the 2015/2016 season.
Wolves Sign Local Product
March 23rd, 2015
The GPRC Wolves Women's Basketball Program is excited to announce the recent signing of Miranda Giesbrecht from Fairview High School in Fairview, Alberta.
The 6'1 ft. forward joins the Wolves after a successful high school career with the FHS Cobras, where she was coached by long time successful local coach and her father, Trevor Giesbrecht.
Miranda has collected many awards and accolades during her school career, including being selected to the Wolves High School All-Star Game for two consecutive years. Last season, she helped lead Fairview High to the 2A Provincials, where she was the second highest scorer in the tournament. This season, Giesbrecht again led her team in scoring, rebound and blocked shots and was voted the team's Most Valuable Player.
Miranda will be a key piece in the journey of the 2015/2016 GPRC Wolves Women's Basketball team next season.
Wolves Finish Season With Sweep
March 2nd, 2015
The GPRC Wolves closed their season with a weekend sweep of the Concordia Thunder, at GPRC. The Wolves won 66-46 on Friday night and 65-51 on Saturday afternoon.
The Wolves displayed their tenacious team defense all weekend, which helped the team in both victories. On Friday night, GPRC held the Thunder to a 17-2 second quarter, which set the tome for their 20 point victory. Leah Sydoruk and Kelly-Ann Sawatzky led the team with 12 points each, while Jesse Gibson had 9 points. Saturday afternoon, the Wolves came back with another strong performance, winning all four quarters versus Concordia, earning a 14 point win. Haley England led the way both 18 points, while Jackie Elgert scored 14 points.
The GPRC Wolves closed the season in impressive fashion, winning three in a row and earning wins in 5 of the last 6 games. The Wolves finished with 7 victories and finished in fifth place in the North Division. The team showed their toughness and consistent improvement throughout the 14/15 season.
GPRC Wolves Player of the Game
|12 points, 16 rebounds
18 points, 6 rebounds
Wolves Shoot For The Cure
February 15th, 2015
The GPRC Wolves Women's Basketball team held the annual "Shoot For The Cure" fundraiser this past weekend, to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. The Wolves raised proceeds for cancer research through a halftime, "Paper Airplane Toss" contest and donation boxes. The team also wore pink shooting shirts, shoelaces and ribbons to raise awareness for the fight against cancer.
Wolves Travel To Arizona
January 12th, 2015
The GPRC Wolves Women's Basketball team spent their winter break competing in the warmth of the Arizona sun,as the Wolves trained and played games in Phoenix, AZ in late December. The team practiced and played exhibition games at NCAA Junior Colleges, Phoenix College, South Mountain Community College and Glendale College. The trip allowed the group to practice together, as well as spend time in Tempe, Arizona, on the campus of Arizona State University. Unfortunately, the Wolves had to leave the sun to return to the frozen Canadian winter but are ready to go for the second semester of the ACAC season.
For more information on Wolves Womens' Basketball contact:
Dave Waknuk, Head Coach
Grande Prairie Regional College