WINNIPEG — Basketball games Wednesday night will decide this year’s Duckworth Challenge between the University of Winnipeg Wesmen and University of Manitoba Bisons.
The 22nd annual cross-town competition, which includes both volleyball and basketball, ended up a split tonight at the Investors Group Athletic Centre, with the home Bisons winning the women’s volleyball match in straight sets before the visiting Wesmen won a surprising straight-sets match on the men’s side.
The Bisons, who lead the overall series 11-5-5 and have won the last three, will have to win Wednesday’ night’s two basketball games to extend the streak, or on aggregate (the tiebreaker) if each side takes a game.
The schools don’t play each other as frequently in sports in the modern-day Canada West athletic schedule, but rivalry remains between the competitors.
"This definitely matters to the players," said Bisons women’s team co-captain Nicole Hall. "There’s always a rivalry between Winnipeg and Manitoba and it’s one of those games you get pumped up for no matter what.
"I know most of their players, especially playing throughout the years. And some of the new players, I’ve coached through their years coming into university. I know a lot of the faces.
"That always increases motivation."
The Bisons had newcomer Taylor Pischke in the lineup for the third time this season, a key addition going forward to the second half, winning 25-15, 25-13, 25-18.
The late men’s game tonight saw the Wesmen get 11 kills from Tom Douglas-Powell to sweep the Bisons 25-16, 25-23, 25-23.