The University of Victoria Vikes took the U Sports nationally top-ranked Saskatchewan Huskies to the limit Thursday, but close wasn’t enough.
The Huskies defeated the seventh-seed Vikes 80-75 in Saskatoon in the Canada West women’s basketball quarter-finals.
The Huskies are coached by Lisa Thomaidis, who guided Canada to a Tokyo 2020 Olympic berth in the FIBA qualifier this month in Belgium.
Thomaidis’s game plan worked to perfection at the start as the overwhelmingly favoured Huskies jumped into a 27-8 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Vikes chipped away, but their rally fell short. Forwards Ashlyn Day and Marissa Dheensaw led UVic with 25 and 17 points, respectively. Guard Morgan Roskelley scored 13 points from the outside for UVic.
The Vikes advanced to the quarter-finals by opening the Canada West playoffs with a 69-49 victory over the Regina Cougars last weekend at CARSA Gym.
UBC defeated Winnipeg 92-85 in the other Canada West quarter-final played in Saskatoon. The Thunderbirds and Huskies meet in a conference semifinal tonight. The other women’s bracket is in Calgary, where the host Dinos played the UNBC Timberwolves and Alberta met Fraser Valley in the quarter-finals Thursday, to be followed by the semifinal tonight.
The Canada West championship game is Feb. 29 at the highest remaining seed.
The fifth-seed UVic Vikes men’s team, which defeated the 12th-seed Brandon Bobcats 88-80 last weekend at CARSA, meet the fourth-seed Manitoba Bisons in the Canada West quarter-finals Saturday in Edmonton.
UVic and Manitoba split their regular-season set 1-1 at CARSA.