Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s basketball coach Doug Partridge smiles when he says the playoffs are a “wonderful adventure” for his young team.
Partridge feels his team, which finished 9-11 but placed third in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference, has had a pretty good season already given its inexperience.
“At the start of the year I don’t think anyone expected us to be in the playoffs, let alone in the top four in the league. If we do something more than that then it’s been an outstanding year,” said Partridge.
Fourth-seed Memorial takes on fifth-seed Dalhousie Tigers in the quarter-final six o’clock today at the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre in Prince Edward Island.
That game will be followed by sixth-seed University of Prince Edward Island against third-seed Cape Breton Capers in the other quarter-final.
Memorial and Dalhousie split two games in early February with the Sea-Hawks winning 68-61 and Dal posting a 73-48 victory.
If the Lady Hawks are to get past the Tigers they’ll have to play much better than they did in the loss to Dal.
“I’ve watched that tape a lot,” Partridge said. “We didn’t do anything right. It was probably the worst game we played all season. If we play that way again, we’ll be out on our can.”
For Partridge, winning the quarter-final game means taking one step at a time and not getting ahead of themselves.
“We’ve got to come to play the first quarter against Dal and when that’s over we got to play the second quarter and so on.”
Should the Lady Hawks get past the Tigers they’ll face the undefeated Saint Mary’s Huskies in the semifinals 6 p.m. Saturday, while the winner of the UPEI-Cape Breton game will take on the second-seed St. Francis Xavier X-Women. The semifinal winners will meet in the championship game 2 p.m. Sunday.
Obviously, the MUN coach isn’t looking past Dalhousie but they’ll have to take another huge step if they expect to beat SMU.
“You’ve have to beat the best to be the best,” Partridge says matter-of-factly.
However, he feels his team can play better with emphasis on defence.
“I’m a defensive coach first and foremost, so we have to know how to stop the other teams. For the most part over my career we’ve been able to do that and then it just comes back to whether or not you can put the ball in the net,” something the Sea-Hawks struggled with at times this season.
Memorial hasn’t won the AUS championship since the 2007-08 season.
All five tournament games will be available via webcast live at www.AUStv.ca.