There was no doubt that the Brandon University Bobcats were overmatched at the Healthy Living Centre on Friday night.
After all, the Bobcats haven’t won a Canada West women’s basketball game in more than two years and the visiting Fraser Valley Cascades (9-0) came in ranked second in the country. That doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons the Bobcats (0-9) can take from their 74-35 loss to the Cascades.
BU head coach Novell Thomas looked at the way the Cascades were built and how they played and he liked what he saw.
"I think Fraser Valley, when you look at their approach, they’ve got some fourth-year players who have been together for a while, so that definitely helps," he said. "They’re well coached. They only had 14 turnovers (on Friday). When you do those types of things and have that combination of talent and coaching and experience, good things happen."
Conversely, the Bobcats turned the ball over 28 times, which was an improvement over previous games, and they fell behind early.
However, that doesn’t mean the team hasn’t taken steps forward. While Brandon continues to struggle with turnovers, fourth-year forward Chantel Gaslard believes the team has come a long way from where it was last season, and she credits Thomas’s coaching ability for its improvement.
"There’s a lot of improvement," said Gaslard, who had three points and three rebounds against the Cascades. "There’s a lot more hustle plays. We’re a lot more ready to play this year than we were last year. This year, we’re really trying to get at it and get our first win. I think it’s really important for all the girls, especially for me being in my fourth year, that we try to get our coach a win and our team a win. It would be awesome to get that feeling we had in my first year."
Carrera Lamoureux led Brandon with 13 points, hitting three three-pointers in the first quarter. Maegan MacKay added six points for BU, while Kayli Sartori led Fraser Valley with 27 points, and Sarah Wierks added 11.
Ultimately, Thomas would like to turn the Bobcats into a winning program, but he knows it will take a lot of work. The first things that he needs to improve are his players’ ball-handling abilities and having them make better decisions on the court. He knows it will take some time to build a winning program, and that it will all start with one win.
Brandon will have a chance to earn that first victory of the season tonight (5 o’clock) at the HLC when it hosts the Trinity Western Spartans, who are in last place in the Pacific Division with a 1-8 record. Thomas believes a simple recipe could lead to success.
"We have to limit turnovers and play four quarters of basketball," he said. "I’m not too much concerned with how we play physically, but mentally, and that’s 90 per cent of it."
CAT SCRAPS: UFV’s Jessica Collins left the game with a broken nose and Kaitlyn Brink left with an ankle injury.