The Memorial Sea-Hawks men’s basketball team was in tough last weekend in its opening games of the 2017-18 Atlantic University Sport season, losing twice in Wolfville, N.S., to the Acadia Axemen, ranked 11th in the nation, including a setback that came on a late three-pointer.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Sea-Hawks in their home-openers this weekend at the MUN Field House in St. John’s.
In town for games tonight (8 p.m.) and Sunday afternoon (2 p.m.) are the three-time defending champion Dalhousie Tigers, fifth in the latest U Sports Canadian rankings.
“It’s always nice to play at home, and we are hoping the home crowd will give us a big boost this weekend,” said head coach Peter Benoite. “Dalhousie (is) very tough, showing no let-down this year. We will have to play with a lot of discipline and focus.”
If the Sea-Hawks are to get into the win column and, at the same time, make an early-season statement, they’ll have to come up with a strong defensive effort against the high-scoring Tigers, who averaged 94.5 points in two wins over the St. Francis Xavier X-Men last weekend.
A big contributor the Dal offence in the games against St. FX was its amazing three-point shooting, with a success rate of nearly 50 per cent. Keying the attack is fifth-year forward Sven Stammberger, who scored in 35 points in each of Dal’s first two games.
The Sea-Hawks’ leading scorer is their super sixth man, guard Daniel Gordon, who came off the bench to average 18 points in the matchups with Acadia.
Dal will also be the opposition for the Memorial women, also making their home debuts this weekend. Like their male counterparts, the Lady Hawks are looking for a first win after opening the AUS schedule with a pair of losses at Acadia and the second-ranked Axewomen.
MUN’s Sydney Stewart averaged 16 points against Acadia, and the AUS first-team all-star will be counted on to lead the charge against the Tigers women’s side, which also brings a 2-0 record to St. John’s.
Australian guard Sammi Deakin-Sharpe, who totalled a team-leading 11 rebounds last weekend, will play her first-ever regular-season home games for the Sea-Hawks.
Robertha Charles leads Dalhousie in both rebounding (10 per game) and scoring (19.5 ppg). The latter is the best average in the conference. And as a team, the Tigers are averaging an AUS-leading 22 rebounds per contest.
“We have been working hard all week in practice and are continuing to talk about and work on winning the rebounding battle each game,” said Memorial head coach Mark English looking ahead to the matchups against Dal at 6 p.m. this evening and noon Sunday.