Young Griffins showing great improvement as they head into final road series of season

Toki Tsuzuki heads to the rim against Winnipeg last weekend. The Griffins will visit UBC Okanagan on Friday and Saturday (David Larkins photo).
Toki Tsuzuki heads to the rim against Winnipeg last weekend. The Griffins will visit UBC Okanagan on Friday and Saturday (David Larkins photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics 

EDMONTON – Progression is always what a coach wants to see and it's fair to say the MacEwan Griffins women's basketball team has done just that since the beginning of the season.

It's especially important when you have as young a team as the Griffins do, but the improvements head coach Katherine Adams has seen in their collective contributions on the court have been massive.

"There are still areas that we need to tidy up, but I think if you look at our game play from the first semester to where we are now, we've taken huge strides, both as individuals and collectively as a team," she said. "It's where you want to be as you head into the last couple weekends of the regular season."

Their final road trip of the regular season takes place this weekend as the Griffins (1-15) head to Kelowna, B.C. for games against UBC Okanagan (7-9) on Friday (6 p.m. MT) and Saturday (5 p.m. MT, both Canada West TV).

The Griffins are coming off one of their best weekends for collective contributions. Although they lost twice to Winnipeg, they made it tough on the Wesmen from Noelle Kilbreath's scoring (34 total points), Makenzie Reeve's rebounding (20 total boards), the play of rookie Unity Obasuyi (13 points on Saturday), secondary scoring from Toki Tsuzuki (10 points Friday) and Sarah Burnell (nine points Saturday), and the play of many others.

"Winnipeg, I think, we had two competitive games," said Adams. "The biggest thing that we took out of that weekend was different people finding ways to step up and contribute. 

"We had a lot of good things from a lot of different people that we hope we can continue to build on. We're just hoping to build on a collective team effort as we head into Kelowna."

Basketball teams are way more dangerous when multiple players are capable of filling the stats sheet, so those types of efforts are what will drive the Griffins forward in the future.

"It's massive," said Adams. "When teams have to worry about one player, it becomes pretty easy to stop, but when you have the ability to attack in a variety of different ways with different people who bring different strengths, it just makes you that much more versatile and puts a lot more pressure on the defence to take away multiple options. 

"Our girls have known that but realizing it and putting it into action is great."

UBCO will present a supreme challenge on the glass, something the Griffins will need to be ready for to succeed this weekend.

"They lead the conference in offensive rebounds right now, so we know taking care of the glass and doing a good job limiting their second-chance opportunities is going to be huge," said Adams. "They have some pretty tough, dynamic players that we're going to have to battle with. That's good. We've played teams like that before and we're up for the challenge."