Novell Thomas, the head coach of the Brandon University Bobcats women’s basketball team, really wanted to see what first-year Amy Williams could bring to the team, and she didn’t disappoint on Homecoming weekend.
Williams, a 6-foot-1 forward from Moose Jaw, Sask., has been sidelined since Aug. 10 with a sprained ligament in her right ankle and a nagging back injury. But she finally made her Bobcat debut in exhibition games against the visiting Dakota College (Bottineau, N.D.) Jacks on Friday and Saturday at BU’s Healthy Living Centre and she made the most of it.
Williams had a team-high 15 points and added seven rebounds in 11 minutes of play Saturday before being taken off with more back pain as Brandon earned a 75-50 victory. Williams admitted she was nervous in Friday’s contest and didn’t rebound or take the shots she normally would, but she put that out of her mind Saturday.
“I wasn’t expecting to play as many minutes as I did,” she said. “I just forgot that I was playing CIS play and I felt like I was playing high school, so I was a lot more confident and comfortable and I didn’t think about it until after.”
Thomas spread the minutes around in Saturday’s game, which the Bobcats dominated. Cassie Cooke played on 19 minutes and finished with 14 points. Kinsley Ransom, who’s from Boissevain, led the team with 11 rebounds and added six points. Fellow rookie Stephanie Hunter, a Crocus Plains graduate, had 10 boards and four points, while Hamiota’s Keegan Robinson had eight points.
Brandon’s six first-year players all banked at least 18 minutes of court time, except for Williams, and contributed 45 points and 35 of the Brandon’s 60 rebounds. However, they also committed 23 of the team’s 30 turnovers, which Thomas knows they need to improve on before the Canada West season starts Nov. 1 when the Bobcats host the Victoria Vikes.
“We need it to be half that amount and then subtract another five to be competitive,” he said. “But it was good to get them out there.”
Kaela Cranston also had eight points for Brandon. Brandonite Taylor Ward had four rebounds in 12 minutes of court time for Dakota. BU point guard Aleah Bridges did not play on the weekend while nursing a knee injury.
While the Bobcats were happy to sweep the Jacks, they know tougher competition lies ahead. They will finish their pre-season schedule on Friday and Saturday against NAIA teams in the Jamestown Jimmies and the Mayville State Comets.
“Mayville and Jamestown, we’re going into their places for their home openers,” Thomas said. “They’ll be fired up and ready to play and hopefully we’ll be healthy enough to compete.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 21, 2013