WBB prepares to push for playoffs

WBB prepares to push for playoffs

Dec. 20, 2019 – Perhaps the most intriguing Lethbridge College team entering the break is the Kodiaks women’s basketball program.

The team enters the break sitting at 6-4 and is in the thick of a playoff race, setting up a second half where every game takes on vital importance. 

The Kodiaks are currently tied with St. Mary’s for third place in the ACAC south division, with Lethbridge holding a game in hand. 

Only four teams will qualify for the postseason, but complicating matters is the fact fifth place Medicine Hat has a guaranteed playoff berth by virtue of hosting this year’s championship tournament.

That means the Kodiaks must fend off St. Mary’s and other challengers to finish in the top three in order to qualify for the postseason.

Head coach Deanna Simpson is continuing to preach consistency to her group, and notes that she has seen some great improvement across the board in the first half.

“We’ve gotten off to a decent start with a 6-4 record, but there are definite areas of improvement,” says Simpson. “Our focus in the second half will be trying to maintain more consistent play from start to finish in a game, and also our defensive execution.”

Kie has been key

Newcomer Denajha Kie has led the way offensively for the Kodiaks, averaging 15 points per game and shooting over 46% from the floor.

Returners Matlin McMurray and Kirsten Barwegen have also provided great depth scoring, each averaging over nine points per game.

Barwegen has been a beast on the glass as well, averaging over eight boards a game. Her work ethic and commitment to improvement has definitely caught the eye of Simpson.

Kirsten has really stepped up in the post for us and has experienced a large amount of growth in her third season here,” says Simpson. “She is evidence of someone putting in the effort to get better and stronger and it is paying off.” 

Simpson also identified first year guard Brooklynn Baker as a player to watch once the calendar turns to 2020. 

“Brooklyn is starting to really understand what it means to play ACAC basketball and is continuing to try and hold herself to that high level,” says Simpson.

The Kodiaks will kick off the second half with a Thursday night game in Medicine Hat on Jan. 9. Their next action at the Val Matteotti Gym will be on Jan. 18 when they host Ambrose.

Leaders at the semester break 

PPG | Denajha Kie (15), Kirsten Barwegen (9.9), Matlin McMurray (9.2)

3 PT% | Kaylin Larson (47.4%), Denajha Kie (38.1%), Karli McLachlan (35.3%)

Assists | Denajha Kie (31), Matlin McMurray (29)

Steals | Denajha Kie (17), Kirsten Barwegen (14), Matlin McMurray (14)

Rebounds | Kirsten Barwegen (84), Denajha Kie (79), Brooklyn Baker (50)

Dates to circle on the calendar 

Jan 24 & 25 | vs Red Deer – The Kodiaks will have their eyes on a pair of victories as their rivals from Red Deer come to town.    

Feb. 6 | at St. Mary’s – After splitting their first two games this season, this clash could go a long way to determining who secures a postseason spot in the ACAC south.

Feb. 15 | vs Olds – The Kodiaks will wrap up their home schedule against the defending national champion Olds College Broncos.