Brandon’s Stephanie Haynes (8) takes the ball from Dakota College’s Halle Schumann (2) during Friday’s exhibition basketball game at BU’s Healthy Living Centre. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
The Brandon University Bobcats women’s basketball team extended their pre-season winning streak to four games at the Healthy Living Centre on Friday, but head coach Novell Thomas wasn’t celebrating after the game.
Thomas didn’t like the way his starters came out of the gate in his team’s 59-37 victory over the Dakota State at Bottineau Ladyjacks, so he benched them for the vast majority of the game. When they came back on the court in the fourth quarter, they dominated the Ladyjacks, outscoring them 21-2. It was the start of the game, however, that left Thomas with a bad taste in mouth after the final buzzer.
"I don’t think we played very well," he said. "I don’t think physically we were ready to play, and mentally we weren’t ready to play."
"We’re still going through the learning stage and growing pains, but it comes down to seeing progress each time we step on the floor and today was a step back," he continued.
While Thomas wasn’t happy with his players, the Bobcats never trailed in the game. They jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, but let the Ladyjacks come back to tie the game late in the third quarter before pulling away.
Maegan MacKay made a big impact in her first start for the Bobcats. The rookie from Regina led Brandon with 16 points and played what everyone on the team called her best game of the pre-season.
"This is one of her best performances, but she’s always had it in her," said Carrera Lamoureux, who started at point guard and scored nine points. "There’s a shooter in there and it’s going to come out. She’s like a Ray Allen of the team."
Aimee Johnston added nine points for the Bobcats. Taylor Ward and Josie DeGagne, who are both from Brandon, did not play for Dakota College as they were playing in a volleyball match. But they are expected to play in tonight’s rematch, which is closed to the public.
Lamoureux and Thomas both know there are a lot of things to work on tonight. They want to see better ball security, winning the rebound battle and establishing a stronger presence down low. However, there is one key thing Thomas will be looking for.
"We have to come mentally and physically ready to play," he said. "It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, whether it’s Bottineau or some other school, physically and mentally we have to be ready to play."
In the men’s game, Brandon beat Dakota 80-73. No stat leaders were available from source.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 20, 2012