While the University of Regina Cougars won the Canada-West championship Friday, there’s still one more goal on their list.
Just a week after the Cougars defeated the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 75-55 for the Can-West title, the team will focus on hosting the USPORTS Final 8 Tournament which begins Thursday.
“I’ve said all year, there’s two times you can win a banner and we got one of the two, so now we’ve got to go get a second one,” Cougars head coach Dave Taylor said following the Can-West final win.
Cougars fifth-year player Charlotte Kot is hoping the team can carry the momentum from Friday into the tournament.
“This is just a stepping stone, we’ve got one goal crossed off the list, hopefully we’ll come for the next one, hopefully we will carry a little bit of confidence carrying into nationals,” Kot commented.
The tournament will feature eight of the top women’s basketball teams from across Canada, all vying for the Bronze Baby Trophy. The Cougars captured their lone USPORTS banner back in 2000-01 season. The team last hosted the tournament in 2013 and has made seven appearances in the past 10 years.
Recent recruiting work done by Taylor and his staff could prove to be a key to winning this year.
Second-year players Kyanna and Kyia Giles have proven themselves to be some of the Cougar’s main contributors, both logging over 20 minutes of playing time in the Can-West final, with Kyanna scoring a game-high 18 points on Friday.
Kyanna was also last year’s USPORTS Rookie of the Year and was named a 2018 First-Team All-Star.
The Cougars once again seemed to strike gold with their recruiting, with rookie guard Carolina Goncalves.
The product of Oeiras, Portugal was named the Canada-West 2018 Rookie of the Year after becoming a major contributor for the team off the bench. Goncalves was also named the Player of the Game in the Canada-West finals with 16 points, four steals and two blocks.
Playing in big games is also something Goncalves is used too; she has played for the Portugal at the senior national level for the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket.
“It’s different playing Europe and playing here, but I feel like with the help of my coaches and my teammates, I’m getting better, I’m getting used to the game and I’m so happy for this journey, it’s absolutely amazing,” Goncalves said.
With the tournament being played at the U of R, Kyanna is hoping the home-court advantage can be a difference maker.
“They get us going, they fuel our energy, they get us going more so having that support is huge.”
Tickets for the tournament are available online. The U of R, U of S, Calgary, Carleton, McMaster, McGill, Acadia and Laval will make up the tournament.