The Quest University Kermodes women’s basketball team stumbled into the playoffs, dropping games to Camosun College on Friday (Feb. 17) and to Vancouver Island University (VIU) on Saturday (Feb. 18).
Despite the losses, the team posted the best record in school history at nine wins and seven losses and will head to the postseason for the first time.
Women’s head coach Mike Woollard said he was pleased with his team’s effort on Saturday. The Kermodes battled the second-place VIU Mariners hard, losing 67-59.
“I’m proud of how we played today,” he said. “I thought we defended hard but they’re a great team. We got some of that experience we’ll need in the playoffs today.”
Woollard pointed out that Quest worked hard on the glass, equaling VIU’s 36 rebounds but the Kermodes, who shot 29 per cent, couldn’t make their shots.
“You have to give them credit,” he said. “They weren’t letting us get any easy baskets and they were doubling us in the post every time we gave it to Nicola [Hitchcock].”
Maja Smiljic led the Kermodes with 15 points, while Hitchcock picked up 10 points and 10 rebounds.
On Friday, Quest dropped a close 63-60 decision to Camosun, the team they will face in the first round of the Pacwest playoffs.
The men’s team also lost to Camosun on Friday and VIU on Saturday to finish the season in eighth place with a record of one win and 15 losses. Quest dropped a 99-89 decision to Camosun and followed that with a 91-67 loss to VIU that was closer than the score may indicate.
Quest played the top-ranked VIU tough on Saturday, closing the first quarter with a one-point lead and only trailing by seven at the half. The Mariners took over in the second half but coach Sean Shook said he likes what he’s seen from his squad in the latter part of the season.
“We really struggled learning how to play hard early in the year,” he said. “Obviously you want more in the left column than the right. But when we played at Great Falls during the winter break I felt that was a turnaround. We played hard and competed the whole 40 minutes that game and since then we’ve been a different team.”
Shook said the strong effort against VIU is proof of the team’s improved attitude.
“They might have slept on us a bit,” he said. “We outrebounded them, made some shots and forced them into some hurried-up offensive decisions. They’re the No. 4 team in the country right now and one of the favourites to win it all, so for us to play this hard against them is positive.”
John Pankratz led the way for Quest on Saturday with 17 points, four assists and four steals in his final game at the school. He added an impressive 16 assists on Friday, with Jose Colorado adding 29 points.
The women’s team will get ready to take on Camosun in the school’s first-ever playoff appearance on March 1 at 3 p.m. Woollard confirmed that forward Katrin Sandbichler will not be available for the playoffs after suffering an ACL tear earlier this year.
For more information on Quest athletics, visit www.questkermodes.ca.