Sea-Hawks' Thistle thrives under pressure

John
John Browne
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Sophomore looking forward to Memorial's quest for another conference title

Vicki Thistle walked slowly to the end of the court, where coach Doug Partridge was logging in his players' results from a just-completed free-throw drill at the MUN gym Tuesday night.

She flashed four fingers to indicate she'd hit four out of 10 free throws, and as Partridge wrote in the score, Thistle smiled sheepishly at teammate Katherine Quackenbush and stuck her tongue out as they exchanged low fives.

Victoria Thistle (right) drives past Meghan Dalton during a Memorial Sea-Hawks women's basketball practice Tuesday night at the MUN gym. The Sea-Hawks will be in Wolfville, N.S., this weekend to defend their Atlantic universities title at the six-team con

Vicki Thistle walked slowly to the end of the court, where coach Doug Partridge was logging in his players' results from a just-completed free-throw drill at the MUN gym Tuesday night.

She flashed four fingers to indicate she'd hit four out of 10 free throws, and as Partridge wrote in the score, Thistle smiled sheepishly at teammate Katherine Quackenbush and stuck her tongue out as they exchanged low fives.

Thistle is one of those athletes who can't hide the fact she enjoys what she's doing, whether it's a practice or a game.

And the more pressure there is, the better the sophomore Memorial Sea-Hawk likes it.

"I look forward to playoff time. It's my favourite time of the year. You have to play well. It's do or die," said the five-foot-10 forward from St. John's, who finished with 12.1 points-per-game in Atlantic universities women's basketball play this season, second only to Quackenbush (15.2).

"Everybody has to come to play. I don't let the pressure get to me. I've played in lots of championships before, so it's no big deal," added Thistle, a one-time hockey star who is also a standout in local soccer.

Thistle, who saw her minutes increase in last year's AUS championship, said it's all about performing when called upon.

"If I'm playing well, I'll get the minutes. Hopefully, if I'm doing my job, he (Partridge) will leave me on the court."

Thistle is expected to see lots of floor time this weekend as the Lady Hawks look to defend their AUS championship in Wolfville, N.S.

Earlier in the season, aggressiveness and technical glitches, meant Thistle was running into foul trouble before the first quarter was over. On a few occasions, that led to Partridge pulling her off the court, which soon cured that hiccup in her game.

"I was being a bit stupid with my fouls, doing stuff I shouldn't have been," said Thistle, "so I cleaned that up and I'm playing more and better defence.

"I wasn't getting down in stance on defence. I was too straight and I was reaching. I've been working on that."

She said she'll stay aggressive on the pressure, but she'll play "smarter" and not make "silly fouls."

This even though Thistle was not among MUN's top five players in fouls this season, while finishing second only to Quackenbush in steals and in average minutes played per game.

Partridge is pleased with Thistle's progress from last season "when she was basically running around like a crazy person," he said, "to someone who plays basketball, makes decisions and handles the ball in the open floor."

Thistle continues to play with vim and vigour, but it's a controlled aggressiveness now, while other parts of her game are coming along nicely, according to Partridge.

"While we were having a little bit of trouble, she was trying to adjust to what other teams in the league were trying to do to her and I think she's made the adjustments and picked up the energy. I'm really pleased with her shooting," said Partridge who worked out twice a week with Thistle, specifically targeting her shot making.

"She's able to knock down the jump shots now. That part of her game has certainly come together."

"I've become more consistent at the end of the year," Thistle said. "I wasn't consistent at the start of the year and I was struggling a bit."

Incredibly, Thistle said she never thought she'd be playing basketball at the university level. Now that she's proven she can, she says she is more confident.

"I believe I can actually play with these guys."

Memorial is losing Quackenbush, Leslie Stewart and Melissa Purity to graduation. That means there are a lot of points to make up next season.

"You hope next year she'd continue to improve and be able to step into Quack's (Quackenbush) role," Partridge said of Thistle. "She's continuing to progress, which is important."

It's no surprise that Thistle is ready for the challenge.

"Quack is our best player, so someone is going to have to step up," said Thistle. "We'll all do it, but one person might have to do a little more and that might be me. I like being the go-to player. That would be cool."

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: St. John's, Wolfville

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Great work this season Vicki- too bad you were not considered for the AUS all-star team. You can in above Leslie Stewart in points/game , steals and you have a better shooting % . Go figure how she got voted to the second team All-star and you did not. Perhaps the Nova Scotia coaches know her better and went with her. You deserved the selection.

  • M
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Great work this season Vicki- too bad you were not considered for the AUS all-star team. You can in above Leslie Stewart in points/game , steals and you have a better shooting % . Go figure how she got voted to the second team All-star and you did not. Perhaps the Nova Scotia coaches know her better and went with her. You deserved the selection.