Wesmen women dominate Cougars
Schatkowsky, Guinto lead way in impressive victory over top-ranked Regina
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The No. 1-ranked Regina Cougars rarely lose a basketball game and when they do, it’s not supposed to look like a beatdown the Winnipeg Wesmen administered Friday night.
Winnipeg, sparked by the the sensational play of fifth-year transfers Julia Schatkowsky and Raizel Guinto, stormed to a 76-52 victory over Regina in Canada West women’s action at Duckworth Centre Friday night.
In men’s action, Mikhail Mikhailov posted his third consecutive double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Wesmen to a 79-59 triumph over Regina.
The Wesmen women, ranked eighth in the most recent U Sports national coaches poll, got the balanced attack they needed to put the visitors on the defensive early and they continued to push the pace with the lead.
The 6-2 Schatkowsky scored 16 points on the strength of six-for-eight shooting, including a pair of three-pointers, and collected five rebounds and a season-high four blocks while Guinto’s all-round contributions included eight assists, seven points, four rebounds and two steals.
“I thought it would be a battle the whole way through and much closer than that,” said Wesmen head coach Alyssa Cox, whose squad improved to 9-2 and a tie with Regina for first place in conference play.
“I think we did a great job of executing our game plan. We had identified some of their strengths going in and we did a good job of containing those strengths, limiting them in transition and limiting their three-point opportunities.”
Conference scoring leader Kyanna Giles pumped in 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the winners in both categories. Robyn Boulanger chipped in with 13 points for the hosts, who led 15-14 after the opening quarter and went on a 14-0 run in the final 4:27 of the first half to go to the locker room with a 39-23 advantage.
“As soon as we hit a rough patch, we were just bad,” said Cougars head coach Dave Taylor. “We didn’t play anywhere close to our potential and a team like Winnipeg is going to embarrass you if you’re less than good. After that 14-0 run at the end of the half I wanted to see what our fight was coming out. And again, we’re down 23 and then it was done.”
Zoe Hartman led the Cougars with 14 points and Eden Wells chipped in with 10 but perhaps the most telling numbers were those of Regina’s star guards Cara Misskey and Jade Belmore. Misskey was held to three points, one more than Belmore. They duo combined for two-for-14 shooting night.
“We didn’t handle the moment well for whatever reason,” said Taylor, whose team’s previous two losses this season were by three- and five-point margins.”I think it’s sometimes our youth but it’s a lesson we have to understand and I give (the Wesmen) full credit. I don’t want to take anything away from Winnipeg. We can get away with it with some teams but with this team, if you’re not playing your best, it’s gonna get ugly in a hurry.”
The Cougars had an uncharacteristically bad shooting night, going 21-for-69 (30.4 per cent), including a dismal four-for-27 from behind the three-point line. Three-pointers are usually the bread and butter of Regina’s attack.
“That’s unheard of,” said Giles, whose team went 29-for-63 (46 per cent) and was good on 10 of 27 three-pointers. “They’ll never do that tomorrow. So we’ve gotta keep our heads up and get ready.”
The game marked the return of veteran guard Anna Kernaghan to the Winnipeg lineup. Kernaghan, sidelined since pre-season by a knee injury, had four points, three assists and four rebounds.
“It was another shooter, another leader on the floor and someone who could push the ball in transition,” said Schatkowsky of Kernaghan’s return.
Wesmen 79 Cougars 59
First-year forward Ryan Luke had nine rebounds and a team-high 16 points as Winnipeg improved to 8-3 in conference play. Shawn Maranan added 13 points, seven assists and three steals for the winners, while Donald Stewart and Alberto Gordo added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Cougars, who dropped to 5-6 in Canada West, got 14 points from Arinze Emeke.
Saturday’s rematch will have the Regina and Winnipeg men meeting at 5 p.m. The women’s game tips off at 7 p.m.
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.