The Bobcats' Kelsey Solarchuk drives past the Saskatchewan Huskies' Erica Gavel on Saturday evening at Brandon University. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
Sarah Lopes has tried very hard to maintain her positivity through four-plus years of more losses than wins with the Brandon University Bobcats, and she sure as heck isn't going to give up now.
The Neelin High School graduate, the lone healthy fifth-year senior on the BU women's basketball team, played through another defeat Saturday as the Bobcats dropped a 79-33 decision to the No. 2-ranked Saskatchewan Huskies in a Canada West conference game at the BU Gymnasium.
It was the lowest point total the Bobcats have mustered since they joined the Canada West in 1999.
Lopes, whose high school teams always had tremendous success on the provincial level, has known defeat as a Bobcat, but she's adjusting to having to play through the downfalls as one of the leaders and this season's only graduating player.
"Well, it's been tough," said Lopes, who led the Bobcats with eight points and four rebounds. "I've never been in this position before, but I think we have a great group of girls and everyone sticks together and we're a tight family, so that makes it easier for us veterans so that I don't have to stress about everything. We just play our roles."
Kim Tulloch led four Huskies in double figures in scoring with 15 points. Marci Kiselyk added 12, Jana Spindler 11 and Jill Humbert 10, while Saskatchewan shot the lights out again from the perimeter, knocking down nine of 16 threes.
"We lost personnel, but at the same time we had to pick our poison," interim head coach Ritchie Jacobson said. "I thought at times we made a good effort. When we're active and we anticipate early, we do an OK job, but if we lose sight of people and take a possession off, Sask does a great job of spreading you out and finding shooters."
Jacobson bristled at a suggestion that it's been difficult for the team to maintain positivity.
"What's the option? Really, what's the option? Just hand it in?" he asked. "I think the onus is on me to be patient and understand that it's going to take time."
The Bobcats (0-12), still seeking their first victory since February of last season, will head to Lethbridge to take on the Pronghorns, who are only two games up on Brandon in the bottom of the conference.
"It's tough at times," Lopes said. "In the game, you get in those slumps and you try to keep your head up, but the girls on the bench do a great job of cheering us on and being supportive and same thing in practice."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 9, 2011 B2