Members of the Dalhousie Tigers Women’s Basketball Team returned for the 2000/2001 season with revenge on their minds. After disappointingly – and unexpectedly – losing to the Memorial Sea-Hawks in the AUS semi-finals last season, the Tigers were determined to prove they had the winning touch. And there was no reason to think they didn’t. returning for a fifth and final season was AUS 1st Team All-Star Janice King, hungry to head to the nationals in her last year. Joining her were fourth-year teammates Angelia Crealock, a 2nd Team All-Canadian, team co-captain Jillian Mcdonald, and Logan Dunning. Other seasoned players returning to wear the black and gold included third-year guard Julia Burden and second-year players Sonya Young, Kerry Maier and Fausta Charlong.
Coach Savoy also recruited rookies Haley Porter, Autumn Mochinski and Katherine Fortier to add the team’s strength. Another player brought on board for a hopeful winning season was Erin Horne, who had two successful seasons at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College before joining the Tigers.
In preparation for this year’s CIAU Championships, Coach Savoy and the team traveled out west to face some possible opponents in pre-season play. The Tigers first faced off against University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, where they dropped a game. The team then met tough University of Calgary at a tournament hosted by University of Alberta in Edmonton. The Tigers lost to the Calgary Dinos by 5. In their next game against University of Alberta, the Tigers went into triple overtime – a first for women’s play in the CIAU – eventually ending in a 2-point loss. The Tigers also trounced Ryerson by almost 60 points at the same event. They lost by 10 to Queen’s University after returning home with 3 days rest from the western tour.
Another pre-season warm-up for the team included play in our own Subway Centennial Tournament. The Tigers came out strong inn the opener and beat the University College of Cape Breton by 21 points. The Tigers followed that up with convincing play in the finals of the tournament, beating their rivals from Saint Mary’s University by 11 points to take home the trophy. Janice King was named tournament MVP, while teammate Angelia Crealock was named an All-Star.
The regular AUS season kicked off early in November with the University of Prince Edward Island having the misfortune of meeting the Tigers in their home gym at Dalplex. The Tigers handed UPEI a 17-point loss, with Jillian Macdonald leading the scoring with 16 points in the winning effort. That win started the Tigers off on a five-game winning streak before the Christmas break, which included wins over Acadia, SMU, MUN and StFX. After Christmas, the Tigers headed to SMU for the Sparkling Springs Tournament, where they first faced off against UPEI, once again pounding the islanders 79-39. The next day the team met Laurentian in a hard-fought contest, winning by a single basket. They met University of British Columbia in the final and lost by a slim 53-57. Angelia Crealock and Janice King were named Tournament All-Stars.
With a good part of the season behind them, the Tigers looked stronger than ever coming off the Christmas break with a 6-0 record in regular season play to date. On Jan. 7 they beat SMU by one basket at home, then went on to trounce Acadia by 25 points at Dalplex and turned around and beat them again two days later in Wolfville by 14 points. Clearly on a winning streak, the Tigers once again beat SMU by one point in the Huskies’ gym, then pounded University of New Brunswick by 33 points and UCCB by 13. And that was just in January. In February, after a day’s postponement due to weather, the now nationally ranked Tigers lost to MUN in St. John’s but followed it up a day later with a convincing win over the Sea-Hawks. The loss to MUN ended a 25-game league winning streak. Back on their home court, the Tigers again handed Acadia their hats in a 62-37 win. The team was once again on the road, though, where they dropped a close 50-54 game to StFX in Antigonish, followed by wins against SMU, UCCB, UNB and a season-ending win against UPEI in Charlottetown.
At the end of regular season play, the Tigers racked up an exceptional 18-2 record for the season, Angelia Crealock and Janice King named AUS 1st Team All-Stars. The only thing left to do was for the team to win the AUS Championship before a hometown crowd at Dalplex and go on to represent the division at the CIAUs in Alberta. After finishing first in the conference, the Tigers earned a bye in the AUS play offs. Their first game in the semi-finals was against UNB, who they handily defeated 81-56. In the final, the Tigers squared off against StFX, the team they were expected to meet at last year’s championship. This time, though, with a rowdy (and partially undressed) hometown crowd cheering them on, the Tigers beat StFX 72-60 in a closely fought final match-up. Jillian Macdonald was named tournament MVP, as well as being named a TSN Award nominee, while Janice King and Angelia Crealock shared tournament all-star honours. Coach Savoy was also named Coach of the Year for the AUS.
The championship game was an exciting end to a successful season. All that was left now was for the Tigers to make their mark at the CIAU championships at University of Alberta. Seeded sixth at the national finals, the team met University of Calgary in their first game. The Tigers played tough and stayed with the Dinos – eventual bronze medalists – for much of the game but ran out of time and were beaten by seven points. On the consolation side, the Tigers posted a solid 70-58 win over McMaster University, but were beaten 75-62 in their third and final game by the University of Victoria.
While the basketball Tigers may not have faired as well as they might have liked at the season-ending CIAU championships, returning players are anxious for another chance to represent the Black and Gold at the national level.