This week's Throwback Thursday is recognizing the 2009-10 women's basketball team. Check out their season recap below!
The 2009-10 Tigers women’s basketball league record of 10-10 does not really give an accurate picture of the strength and skill of this year’s team. The retirement of Coach Dr. Carolyn Savoy and the loss of the three starting veteran guards All-Canadian Jenna Kaye and captains Kelly Donald and Brianna Orr proved to be a challenge to the 2009-10 team as they got off to a slow start with a 3-8 pre-season record.
Under new leadership of former Dalhousie Tiger Anna (Pendergast) Stammberger and assistant coaches Dani Everitt (University of Victoria) and Tina Lum (UBC), the Tigers opened the pre-season in Miramichi with wins over UPEI and St. Thomas and an overtime loss to UNB. In the Dalhousie Subway Centennial Tournament the Tigers posted a 1-2 record, losing to Brock and Lakehead but defeating York. Dalhousie was 0-3 in the Don Grant Classic in Moncton against Bishops, Ottawa and McGill but the improvement in play was evident, the new team and new coaches were beginning to find their game!
Unfortunately the pre-season was tainted for the Tigers when second year point guard Carla Norrad incurred a season-ending knee injury in mid-October. The team began league play in November without Carla or fourth year captain Alex Legge who was working hard at rehabilitating her knee after surgery in April. Losses to UNB, SMU and StFX made it clear that the Tigers were craving experience at the point guard position and they found just what they needed with the comeback of fifth year veteran April Scott. She proved right away to be a difference-maker as the Tigers promptly had a great weekend with a close 68-63 loss followed by a 70-67 victory over the then nationally ranked Memorial Seahawks. Going into the December exams the Tigers had a 1-6 league record and were well-aware that there was work to be done in the second half of the season.
The rest and recovery time at the holiday break along with the training and participation in the Derrick McDermott Tournament at Mount Saint Vincent proved to be just what the sleeping Tigers needed. The comeback of Alex Legge who was fit and ready to play was a tremendous lift for Dalhousie as they started the second half of the season with a sovereign 30-point win over Acadia and followed up with another victory against the same opponent two days later. A close 53-51 loss to undefeated CBU showed everyone that the Tigers had woken. The following victory over the athletic and aggressive StFX squad put the Tigers ever-improving record to 4 and 7. The next weekend on ‘the Rock’ demonstrated a great display of Dalhousie’s mental toughness as they took the first game from MUN 73-69 and lost the second game 62-60. These two weekends were proof that the Tigers were AUS title contenders. A four-game winning streak over UPEI, UNB, Acadia and StFX improved the Tigers record to 9-8, a far cry from the struggling start to the season.
The last home game of the 2009-10 season where Dal hosted SMU proved to be a devastating night for the Tigers; not only did the Tigers lose the game (65-62) but the they also had to say “auf Wiedersehen” to their five graduating seniors: April Scott, Alex Legge, Cailin Crosby and twins Leah and Laurie Girdwood. It was also during this game that captain Alex Legge over-rotated her knee, incurring another season-ending knee injury – this time to her meniscus. The Tigers finished league play without team leader Alex on the court falling to Acadia 69-66 but finishing with a convincing 68-42 win over UPEI.
The two weeks before play-offs was used to regroup and prepare for the toughest AUS tournament in many years. April Scott and Laurie Girdwood were selected to the AUS Second All-Star Team and Alex Legge received the Sylvia Sweeney Award for excelling in athletics, academics and community volunteer work.
The Tigers were seeded fifth heading in to the post-season and met fourth ranked StFX in the quarter-final. The Tigers got off to a slow start, falling behind by as much as 19 points, but proved they were up to the challenge, clawing their way into the semifinal with a 59-52 win.
Reaching the final four was definitely a great achievement for this mix of young and experienced players under new leadership. Meeting the host and 19-1 CBU was a tough test; although the Tigers gave the Capers all they could handle with an 11-3 lead early in the game and holding on to a 27-24 lead at half-time, battling home court advantage and missing captain Alex Legge, they ran out of steam halfway through the final quarter, resulting in a 61-56 loss.
Although the Tigers did not achieve their goal of winning the conference title and going to nationals, the team had a great turn around in the second half of their season. Under the great leadership of fifth year players April Scott, Laurie and Leah Girdwood and fourth year players Cailin Crosby and Alex Legge, they ended the season with a very strong and respectable performance at the AUS Championship.