Cape Breton University is gearing up to host the Atlantic University Sport Women’s Basketball Championships February 26th to 28th at the Sullivan Field House here in Sydney. The Capers return the core of an AUS championship team, one that also won the consolation bracket at the National Championship in 2009. They also boast the top scoring offense in the AUS, putting up over 76 points per game and befuddle AUS opponents on the defensive end of the court leaving opponents to a stymie 64 points per game.
The Capers look forward to defending their AUS championship on their home court, a place where they are yet to lose this year. Two-time AUS Coach of the Year Fabe McKenzie said, “It’s going to be real nice to be home. It should be an advantage because we are real comfortable here; we practice here and have been shooting the ball real well in this gym so it certainly provides our team with a comfortable environment.”
Fifth-year senior guard Kelsey Hodgson said the team is very excited to play for a championship at home. Kelsey lead the nation in scoring last year and is tops in the nation again this year with a scoring average of over 25 points per game. “To repeat is very important to the girls, and what better place to do it than at home.”
Ranked number four in the nation, the CBU women’s squad has already clinched a first round bye and the top seed in the tournament with a very impressive 17-1 record on the season thus far. Another thing the team has going for them is that only one AUS team besides the Capers sports a winning road record, that being ST.F.X. The X-Women are only one game above the .500 mark on the road this season, but Coach McKenzie is not taking any team lightly. “There is a lot of parity in the AUS this year. Any game can be tough between the top six teams. Right now either UNB or Acadia is probably going to end up in that sixth seed and we have lost to UNB and Acadia has played us to a two point game so we cannot overlook any team in this tournament”.
McKenzie has coached some phenomenal teams in the past and believes that if his current squad can get on the same page, they have the potential to be his best team yet. “Each team is a bit different so it is difficult to compare them. The girls this year have a very good offensive game but our defense might not be as strong as some teams in the past. The big thing is that if our current group can all get on the same page, we are a pretty scary team to play against.”
Everything seems to be falling in place for a repeat. The Capers have been the top team in the AUS all season; they have a championship nucleus, a top-notch coaching staff and the benefit of playing in front of their home crowd. Tournament passes are available now with general seating packages costing $20 dollars, students and seniors $12, and CBU students and children 5 years and under get free admission. For more information contact the CBU athletic department at (902) 563-1277.