Grad Night at the Currie Center
With nothing but pride and momentum to play for on Saturday night, the women’s basketball team came out and took care of business against the Acadia Axe-women in the final regular season game of the season.
The women took down the second place Axe-women 81-57 on a night where Chelsey Collette, Kiley DeLong, Rachel Cleary and Caroline Healy were honoured, as graduates of UNB and the V-Reds program.
Head coach Jeff Speedy talked at length about each of the girls after the game in front of the nearly packed house.
Speedy choked up several times throughout his speeches and it became clear the relationships he forms with his players are incredibly strong.
“We want our players, our student athletes to be role models, we want them to give back to the community, we want them to set an example,” said Speedy. “I have a young daughter whose around these girls all the time and I am so blessed she gets to spend time with these young women.”
As for the game, UNB was already locked into fourth place in the AUS so the win didn’t mean anything for the standings but meant a lot for the girls confidence heading into playoffs.
“The team’s confidence is definitely boosted from that game,” said Katelyn Mangold who earned player of the game award with a 15 point, eleven rebound and three block performance after coming off the bench.
The women are now off to AUS playoffs where they will be facing fifth ranked UPEI in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. this Friday in Halifax.
UNB has a guaranteed spot in the CIS Final 8, as they are hosting, but will want to finish AUS playoffs in a good spot so they can secure a higher seed in the national tournament.
Masters takes CIS scoring title, men can’t secure important win
The men knew going into this game that with a win they would take over second place in the AUS and give themselves a bye in the first round of playoffs.
It was not meant to be however as Acadia jumped out to a 38-15 lead after the first quarter and held on for the 103-92 win after a furious UNB comeback attempt. The V-Reds came within five points of the Acadia lead at one point in the fourth quarter but it was not quite enough.
“We just didn’t come out with any energy,” said third year guard Javon Masters, who finished with 23 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. “We were trying to force guys certain ways, they didn’t do that, and they made us pay for it.”
Some consolation for the team and one player in particular is the CIS scoring title secured by Masters during the game.
“It’s always good to think about individual achievements, but I got to play way better,” said a humble Masters after the game. “I didn’t play my best game but this is what we [are preparing for], we have one more week to get ready for Halifax.”
Like the women, the men also honoured their graduating players, Matt Daley, Alex Caskey and Mark Matheson, who played their final games as V-Reds on the Currie Center court.
Head coach Brent Baker poked fun at his guys in his speeches and let video montages of each of the players do most of the talking. These speeches will also be attached to the online version of this article.
Unable to secure the bye, the men will be forced to play a quarterfinal game on Friday at 6:30 p.m. against the fifth-ranked Saint Mary’s Huskies who will enjoy the hometown advantage at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
If UNB can get by SMU they will face the number one-seeded Dalhousie Tigers in the semifinals on Saturday.