University of Manitoba shooting guard Nicole Konieczny was in the zone Saturday, pouring in 41 points as Manitoba breezed to an 82-59 triumph over the Lethbridge Pronghorns in women's basketball action.
Konieczny went 16-for-19 from the field (84.2 per cent), including a perfect 6-for-6 from behind the three-point arc, while adding seven rebounds, six steals and four assists.
She was also honoured as the Canada West female first star of the week and the Smitty's Bisons Sports female athlete of the week.
"It took me until maybe the last five minutes when I realized, 'Hey, it's been a really good game,'" said Konieczny, a third-year player from Regina. "I was just kinda in the zone all day and players were feeding me. It was a very good vibe and they were pretty supportive."
Konieczny led the Bisons to a home weekend sweep over one of the top teams in the conference. She totalled 56 points in two games on 23-of-31 field goal shooting (74.2 per cent), while adding 16 rebounds, eight assists and nine steals.
On Friday, she scored 15 points, recording a game-high nine rebounds, adding four assists and three steals in 31 minutes of play in an 87-73 home victory.
Konieczny, who is 22nd in conference scoring with a 13.3 points per game average, said she won't feel any additional pressure to score.
"I don't think it's really expected. I don't think my teammates would mind. My coaches wouldn't mind. We definitely have a couple of players who can also put up of those kind of numbers, so we'll kinda figure it out as we go," she said.
A two-game sweep of Lethbridge pushed the Manitoba women to 8-6 in conference play. The Bisons are over .500 this late in a season for the first time since 2006-07.
Konieczny's previous game high with the Bisons was a 27-point performance against the Pronghorns in her first season. Saturday's output was the sixth highest total in Canada West history.
Meanwhile, Manitoba men's hockey goaltender Byron Spriggs was a big factor his team in a two-game sweep of the No. 1-ranked Alberta Golden Bears. He earned Canada West male first star of the week for his efforts.
As a result, the 11-5-2 Bisons earned a spot in the national top 10 rankings.
"We set high goals for ourselves at the beginning of the year and one of those goals was to get into the national rankings and obviously to finish at least in the top three of the Canada West conference," said Bisons head coach Mike Sirant. "It's good for our players to get that national recognition and they deserve it. They've had a very good season, but it's not something we want to occupy our thoughts."
Spriggs, 24, was dominant factor against in both games against Alberta with a total of 63 saves and first star honours each night.
To start the weekend, the Winnipegger had 33 saves in a 5-4 OT win. A day later, he made 30 saves in a 3-1 victory.
Spriggs is currently seventh in the Canada West with 3.06 goals-against average and eighth in save percentage at .908. He is also tied for second with nine conference wins.
Next up for third-place Manitoba is a weekend road series against to the No. 3 Saskatchewan Huskies.
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.