Women’s basketball team motivated to win next season
by Blaine Meller
There’s an old saying in the world of sports: sometimes you learn more from a loss than you do a win. Coming off a close 55-52 loss to MacEwan in the ACAC semifinals, the Cougars women’s basketball team had two choices: they could feel sorry for themselves or focus on their bronze medal clash with cross-town rivals SAIT.
They chose the latter. The Cougars knocked off SAIT 69-65 to capture the bronze medal and defeat the Trojans for the first time this season. SAIT had captured both regular season contests against Mount Royal.
Cougars’ head coach Joe Enevoldson was proud of how his team responded after the MacEwan loss.
“I’m not going to lie. Walking into our dressing room after the MacEwan game was tough, especially with how close we were,” said Enevoldson.
“We let the girls speak a little bit, and they really did keep their heads up. They went out and battled SAIT when it would have been very easy for them not too.”
The Cougars had two motivating factors against SAIT. The team openly talked about one, that being the chance to knock off their rivals for the first time this season, and to do it on SAIT’s home court.
The other reason was not openly discussed, although it was in the back of their minds. The bronze medal contest was forward Jamie Morck’s last game with the Cougars, something her teammates were aware of. Morck graduates at the end of this semester.
“It’s not something we really talked about, but it was in the back of our minds. It was in the back of mine for sure,” said third-year guard Emily Larson.
“After the game, I ran to Jamie to give her a hug. She played the game of her life.”
Larson echoed her coach’s thoughts, saying the loss to MacEwan was tough to get over. At the same time, however, the players realized they still had an opportunity to finish with a medal.
Larson said winning bronze will only fuel the team’s desire to capture ACAC gold next season.
“Now that we have that taste, it’s going to fuel our drive just that much more. I know for myself, I want it so bad, to win an ACAC championship and go to nationals,” she said.
After leading by only a single point at halftime, the Cougars outscored SAIT 44-41 in an equally tight second half to secure the win and the bronze medal. Morck lead all scorers with 27 points, while Larson contributed 13. Also scoring for Mount Royal were Celeste Clarke (11 points), Carrie Pickering (7), Kari Youmans (6) and Danica Rybachuk (5).
“We all wanted to end the season on a strong note,” said Morck. “It was important that we all went out and played that game as hard as we could.”
Morck said that this past season with the Cougars helped her rediscover her love of basketball, something that had been tested after a bad experience playing for the University of Calgary.
“I grew a lot as a person this season, and I met a lot of great people,” she said.
Morck admitted that while she’s “not really sad” that her career at Mount Royal is over, she doesn’t think it’s fully hit her yet either.
“It’s been fun.”