Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s basketball coach Doug Partridge wouldn’t go so far as to call this weekend’s Atlantic University Sport (AUS) games crucial, but he conceded the team needs points.
The Lady Hawks (1-5) will be looking to take advantage of the home court as they take on the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds (0-4) Saturday and Sunday at the Field House.
Despite the team’s slow start, Partridge pointed out the Cape Breton Capers started 1-5 last season and still; went on to play for the AUS championship, losing to Acadia.
The MUN coach wouldn’t say anything less than a sweep of UNB would be disappointing, noting that he wasn’t disappointed last week when the team lost twice to Acadia Axewomen because he felt his team played well in both games.
Partridge said he can live with a loss or two, “If we play the right way.”
What he would really like to see is his players making more three-point shots.
Senior forward Grace Fishbein has been Memorial’s steadiest player early this season and is leading the Sea-Hawks with 15.2 points per game.
Partridge acknowledge Fishbein has been “solid” and feels she can even improve her points-per-game average.
He said she’s capable of scoring 22 or 23 points per game and “may need to be at her best this weekend.”
Rookie Sandra Amoah leads the team in rebounding in Ally Forsey’s absence with 5.8 per game. Forsey is recuperating from a knee injury she picked up at the start of the season.
Partridge noted, “We’ve changed the way we play to accommodate her (Forsey’s) absence.
“I thought that slowed us down a little against Cape Breton, but Grace played a great individual game,.
“In the second game against CBU, I don’t think we knew how we wanted to guard without Ally on the floor. I thought we figured that out against Acadia.”
“So, from that standpoint. I think we’ve adjusted. But without Ally, there are no easy points in the paint.”
MUN split with CBU at home and lost a pair of games the following weekend in Wolfville, N.S. against the Axewomen.
For the Varsity Reds Claire Colborne is one to watch this weekend. Colborne is fourth in the league with 18.8 points per game.
Memorial swept UNB last season with two wins in Fredericton.
Game times are 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday at the Field House.
The Memorial men’s hoopsters (0-6) also host UNB (1-3) this weekend at the Field House.
Last season UNB beat Memorial twice in Fredericton with both games having a differential of only two points each.
Third-year forward Ryan Wood currently leads the team in scoring this season with 11.7 points per game. Forward Caleb Gould is second on the team with 9.7 rebounds.
A couple of key statistics for Memorial this weekend will be turnovers and free throw attempts. Coach Benoite feels if they can limit their turnovers and attack on offense that they will be in a good position.
UNB’s leading scorer is Will McFee. He’s a threat from three-point land and can be a streaky shooter.
Varsity Reds second-year post Aaron O’Brien, a native of Pasadena, has worked his way into coach Brent Baker’s starting lineup this season. O’Brien will play his first games in his home province this weekend.
Game times are 8 p.m. on Saturday night at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
This weekend is the first interlock tournament of the year for the Sea-Hawks as they travel to Montreal for four matches against the universities from the Quebec conference.
The tournament starts for the Sea-Hawks (2-2) tonight against the host McGill Martlets (4-6).
On Saturday, the Sea-Hawks take on the Sherbrooke Vert et Or (7-3 ) at noon and the Montreal Carabins in the evening. Sherbrooke is the newest entry to the CIS top 10, having cracked the list as the eighth-ranked team this week. Montreal is also nationally ranked at ninth in the country.
To close out the tournament the Sea-Hawks take on the first place team in the RSEQ, Laval rouge et or (8-2) Sunday. Laval is currently the fifth-ranked team in the CIS.
Veteran middles Angela Peddle and Chantel Jones have been big for Memorial so far this season. Both players are in the top five in the AUS in hitting percentage. They are also the top two in the league in blocks per set, with Jones leading the league with 1.77 per set and Peddle second at 1.31 per set.
“It will be a weekend of great competition,” said coach Bill Thistle.
“We can compete and win matches if we correct some of our deficiencies. It would be nice to finish the fall on a positive note.”
The Memorial men’s volleyball team (0-7) will compete in their second interlock tournament of the season against Quebec teams this weekend.
The Sea-Hawks start their weekend schedule tonight by taking on the host team, Montreal Carabins (3-4).
The men play two games Saturday. They take on Laval Rouge et or (7-0) in the afternoon and Sherbrooke Vert et Or (3-4) in the evening.
Senior outside hitter Drew Stephens has been outstanding for Memorial so far this season. Stephens is leading the conference in kills and is second in the country in kills per set (4.48). Senior setter Brad Pitcher is third in the AUS with 206 assists.