After dropping the season opener on Nov. 12, the Quest University Kermodes women’s basketball team defended its home court on Friday (Nov. 18) and Saturday (Nov. 19) to move to 2-1 on the season.
The Kermodes came out hard early on Friday against Langara, building a six-point lead after the first quarter and then outscored the Falcons by 12 in the second to cruise to a 64-49 victory.
“We’re always working at getting better and we came out with a lot of energy today and defended well,” said Kermodes head coach Mike Woollard.
One of the keys to the win was stopping all-star forward Carling Muir and Woollard said he was pleased with how his team handled her.
“We felt that their strength is their size down low but we’re quick and defended well,” he said. Woollard regularly double-teamed Muir and the defence of Kelsey Cooper and Nicola Hitchcock held Muir to four of 18 shooting.
Katryn Sandbichler led the Kermodes in scoring with 14 and guard Maja Smiljic had a strong all-around game with 13 points, five rebounds and three steals. Smiljic, in her second year with the team, said this year’s edition of the team is packed with talented rookies.
“This year the girls are a lot more aggressive,” she said, when asked of the play of first-year players Sandbichler, Cooper, Hilary Young and Shayna Cameron. “All the rookies on the team have been playing great. They’re not treated like rookies, they’re already important parts of the team.”
Smiljic, who hails from Serbia, added that she also feels a lot more comfortable this season after an intense summer and becoming more familiar with the North American style of basketball.
“I’m from Europe and it’s more settle-down-and-play style as opposed to the freedom you get out here,” she said. “I worked hard in the summer and came in more prepared this year. I really like the freedom you get in the game out here.”
The team continued its solid play on Saturday, beating the Kwantlen Eagles 80-61. The Kermodes were in control the entire game and were led by guard Delainee Behrns, who picked up 19 points and four steals. Sandbichler continued her strong rookie campaign, with 16 points, five steals and five assists. Hitchcock led the team with nine rebounds, while Cynthia Lau picked up two blocks.
It was a frustrating weekend for the men’s team, which dropped its first two games at home, both by double digits.
The Kermodes started well against Langara on Friday and it was all tied up after the opening quarter but the wheels fell off in the second. The Falcons outscored Quest by 16 points in the second frame and the Kermodes never got back into the game, losing 98-74.
Quest head coach Sean Shook said his team wasn’t aggressive enough offensively to win.
“We settled for a lot of perimeter shots and put ourselves in some bad situations,” he said. “We let them shoot four times as many free throws as us in the first half and it’s hard to win that way.”
Shook said he was happy with the first quarter but was upset with the mistakes the team made as the game continued. There were a few bright spots on the team, as rookie Gurminder Kang led the team with 16 points and first-year player Sunny Johal had 13 points and nine rebounds.
The frustration continued for the team on Saturday, as the Kwantlen Eagles led the entire game and won 93-79. The Eagles were on fire in the second half, hitting 50 per cent of their shots and were led by guard Steven Adusei, who had an impressive 43 points. Jose Colorado was Quest’s top scorer with 22.
The men’s team sits in seventh place in the Pacwest with a record of zero wins and three losses, while the women’s team is in fifth.
Both teams will next be in action on Friday (Nov. 25), when the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) comes to town. The women’s game tips off at 6 p.m., while the men kick off at 8 p.m.
For more information on Quest athletics, visit www.questkermodes.ca.