Owen Munro, Ω Contributor
University of Calgary Dinos
Record: 19-3, 1st in Prairie Division (10-1 Home)
Top Player: Guard #3 Jessica Franz – 28.7 MPG, 16 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 44.3 FG%, 26.9 3PT%
Thompson Rivers University WolfPack
Record: 15-7, 4th in Pacific Division (6-5 Away)
Top Player: Forward #13 Diane Schuetze – 29.8 MPG, 17.8 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 53.2 FG%, 20.0 3PT%
Last Meeting: TRU 69 – University of Calgary 60 (Jan. 12, 2013 at Kamloops, B.C.)
After a record-breaking year in which the WolfPack women set a new school record with 15 wins, it would be understandable if head coach Scott Reeves was content with the direction and development of his program, but he’s still looking for more.
The WolfPack women’s basketball team set out to Calgary, Alberta Feb. 21, a best-of-three quarterfinal series with Prairie Division Champions University of Calgary Dinos awaiting them.
The quarterfinals go Feb. 22 and 23, with a potential third game on Feb. 24 if necessary.
“It’ll be a great opportunity to play a high-calibre Calgary team, to test our resolve and give them a good series,” Reeves said of the match-up. “We know we’re capable of playing with Calgary, we’ve beaten them this year and we expect a battle.”
That meeting came on Jan. 12 at the TCC and the WolfPack emerged victorious by a score of 69-60. TRU’s star forward Diane Schuetze was every good as advertised on that night, outclassing Calgary in a variety of ways – specifically on the board – pulling down 19 boards, 15 of which came in the defensive end.
Schuetze also chipped in 20 points and is sure to be targeted as a major threat by a relatively undersized Calgary team.
“It all starts with Diane,” Reeves said. “She’s such a sound rebounder and her compete level is off the charts. She’ll really be the impact player for us.”
Defeating the University of Calgary will be no small task for the WolfPack women. The Dinos are an exciting blend of finesse and pressure and have made a fortress of sorts at Jack Campbell Gym, their home court, losing just one home game all season. They aren’t afraid to send different pressure and press packages to put their opponents in continual distress playing with the ball and rotate between man and zone defences to further confuse teams.
“Very strong pressuring the ball, high pace and a deep rotation of good shooters – they’re a hell of a team and we learned that the first time,” Reeves said.
Stopping star guard Jessica Franz will be of the utmost importance. Franz is what Reeves calls a volume player – a player who can play, and score, in bunches through a multitude of ways. “Good passer, dribbler, and she can play with her back to the basket.”
Calgary certainly presents an interesting opportunity for the WolfPack, their performance this season has clearly shown the Dinos are a force to be reckoned with in Canada West basketball. But they’re not an infallible team, having lost to TRU earlier this season and with a number of their wins coming by single-digit differences.
The WolfPack will need to be highly efficient shooting the basketball, and will likely need their senior trio of Scheutze, Tracy Kocs and Jen Ju to be their best players on both nights. With a potential third game in three days also looming, it’ll be imperative Coach Reeves keeps his rotations fresh, though that won’t be his focus.
“I don’t like thinking about the third game,” Reeves said. “If it comes down to it we’ll be prepared, but it’s not on our minds right now. Winning the first two games is the objective.”