Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – When the architect of the top turnover-causing defence in the Canada West women's basketball ranks says his team can learn from you, it validates the effort that the MacEwan Griffins put forth in their last outing.
That's exactly what Calgary head coach Damian Jennings said following his team's 61-39 win over the Griffins last Saturday when the Dinos posted their second-lowest offensive output of the campaign.
"I think that we really can build momentum from our performance on Saturday night," said MacEwan head coach Katherine Adams. "The girls were really proud of their efforts. Win, lose or draw, they know that the work they put in has been noticed and feel pretty proud about what they were able to accomplish in that regard.
"It's a great stepping stone for us moving forward."
Now the challenge will be bringing that intensity for a full 40 minutes against a team far lower in the standings. The Dinos sit atop the Canada West table at 13-3, while the UBC-Okanagan Heat (0-16) reside in the cellar.
MacEwan (4-10) will pay the Kelowna-based squad a visit on Friday (7 p.m. MT) and Saturday (6 p.m. MT, both on Canada West TV).
"Truthfully, nothing changes," said Adams. "Our principles stay the same, our focus stays the same. This is about us and what we're trying to accomplish. Yes, it's a different opponent, but it doesn't change what we do."
Against Calgary on Saturday, MacEwan forced the Dinos into 20 turnovers and limited them well below their season average in field goal percentage (34.5) by forcing them to put up shots often in the dying seconds of the shot clock.
If they can tap into that defensive intensity and get some more shots to fall themselves, a winning weekend is within their grasp.
Their motivation will certainly be there. The Griffins dearly need results against to keep their playoff hopes alive. Currently, they trail Winnipeg (6-10) for the final post-season position in Canada West, so they're within striking distance.
"We know we still have the opportunity to make playoffs and be playing in the post-season," said Adams. "But that's the big picture – one game at a time, you can't get too far ahead of yourself. So, our focus is Friday night. We take care of business Friday night and we look forward to what Saturday brings.
"That's as far as we're willing to go right now."