The Kwantlen womenâ€™s basketball program tips off its 2009-10 season Thursday, Oct 1, when they host the 10th annual Kwantlen Eagles Basketball Tournament.
All games in the three-day event will be played at the gymnasium on Kwantlenâ€™s Surrey campus. This pre-season tournament is drawing teams from the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Squamish who are all looking to prepare for the coming British Columbia Athletics Association (BCAA) season, which gets going in early-November.
â€œExpectations are quite high this year,â€ said Kwantlen Eagles coach Gary Pawluk. The second-year coach expects his team will be competitive, but will be in tough to unseat last years defending BCAA league champions from Victoria, the Camosun Chargers.
This years Eagles have eight players returning from last year’s squad, as well as one fifth-year pick-up. Their experience is the reason Pawluk is so optimistic about the season.
The Eagles tournament schedule will see them play three games in three days beginning Oct 1, with a game against the Douglas Royals. They will then play the Capilano Blues and Langara Falcons over the next two days.
â€œItâ€™s all about preparing for season play,â€ said Pawluk. â€œWe want to try to play all the teams in our league before it starts.â€
There will be no final game to determine a winner in this tournament. The format sees all teams play three games and a champion determined based on points for and against. The team with the biggest positive differential in this category will take home the trophy.
Tickets for the tournament will be of minimal cost, said Pawluk, who was unsure of exact ticket prices. There will be reduced ticket prices available for Kwantlen students and tickets will be available at the door.
The Kwantlen Eagles womenâ€™s basketball team didn’t go down without a fight as they lost 51-44 to the Douglas Royals in their first exhibition game of the season at the Kwantlen Surrey campus Friday night.
Emotions were running high at the end of the fourth quarter, as the Royals added 12 points to their score and the Eagleâ€™s Head Coach Gary Pawluk was asked to leave the gym after asking the referee for â€œa moment of your time.â€ Assistant Coach Ivan Adrian said that â€œwe liked the intensity that they showed in the fourth quarterâ€ and the â€œfact that they werenâ€™t giving up.â€
The game began with a bang as the Royals scored a two-point basket in the first minute and Kwantlen’s up-and-coming guard Jessica Williams scored within the first two minutes, bringing the score to 2-1 for the Royals.
The back-and-forth action continued with strong passing from the Eagles. The fast-paced offense and defense by both teams resulted in an even match for most of the quarter, which was ending with a two-point lead for the Eagles until the Royals tied the score to 9-9 with 38 seconds left. The Royal’s Cynthia Lawson scored again with one second left in the period, putting Douglas in the lead 11-9.
The Royals took their lead into the second period but the quick passes by the Eagles resulted in a one-point lead of 22-21 going into the third quarter. The score went back and forth, and the third ended 37-34 for the Royals, after Koral Fraser scored three for the Eagles with 23 seconds left in the third quarter.
Assistant coach Adrian said the team had set a goal to work on their rebounding, â€œespecially on our own boards,â€ but that they didnâ€™t meet their expectations.
â€œOur rebounding needs to improve in order for us to be a successful team.â€
Guard Taminder Dhaliwal, returning for her third year on the team, agrees. She also said the team was slow to start but they did a good job â€œhustling back.â€
Also returning player forward Michela Fiorido says the team is â€œdefinitely improving.â€
The next game for the Eagles will be against the Langara Falcons on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. in Vancouver.