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T’Birds battle it out against Cougars in first round of CanWest playoffs

The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds women’s basketball team have officially touched down in Saskatchewan to take on the hosting University of Regina Cougars.

UBC Thunderbirds / Rich Lam

Sitting at ninth seed, the Thunderbirds will need to give it their all to win against the first-seeded Cougars.

Coach Deb Huband agrees.

“We expect a tough battle against one of the top ranked teams in our conference. We are a young team that has grown tremendously over the course of the season. In essence our exhibition and league games have prepared us for this series,” she says.

“Regina has a deep and experienced team and that will be a challenge for us.”

When the Cougars visited War Memorial back in December, the Thunderbirds lost both back-to-back games.

However, UBC went on a six-game winning streak directly afterwards. A win in this series against Regina will mean a chance to compete for a Canada West title and a berth to Nationals, something that Huband wants for her girls.

This matchup will also pit two siblings against each other: UBC’s Dayna Pearce is the younger sister of Regina’s Avery Pearce. Both play very similar roles, however, Dayna is in her rookie year with 26 assists and an average 2.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per 15.3 minutes.

Despite going on the road for all three quarterfinal games, the Thunderbirds are seasoned when it comes to travel.

“As a member of our team we do a lot of travel. Exhibition tournaments and tours take us out of province and country. In league we travel across 4 provinces and many cities. We believe that travel enables a broadening sense of the world and is an education in itself.”

Huband says the team has “terrific chemistry” and many individual personalities to make for an amazing group of girls.

UBC Thunderbirds / Rich Lam

The ‘Birds were able to soar into the playoffs after defeating the Lethbridge Pronghorns 77-73 during a play-in contest last Friday.

If the girls can keep their momentum going, this road trip to Regina will definitely be worth the travel.

The UBC T’Birds begin their first round of best-of-three playoff series against the Regina Cougars on February 15th at 5 pm at CKHS.

Written by: Crystal Scuor

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