Both UAlberta basketball teams begin their championship quest this weekend, as the Golden Bears and Pandas host the Lethbridge Pronghorns this weekend in their quarter-final series’ at Saville Community Sports Centre.
The two best-of-three quarter-final series will begin on Thursday with Game 1 (Pandas at 6:00 p.m. / Bears at 8:00 p.m.), with Game 2 set for Friday, and if necessary, Game 3 on Saturday night. All three games of both series will also be streamed live on Canada West TV.
Renewing an Old Rivalry
While the Bears and ‘Horns have had some recent playoff clashes, this will be the first playoff battle between the Pandas and Pronghorns in 33 years.
Alberta and Lethbridge met in three-straight CW Women’s Basketball post-seasons from 1984-1986. The Pandas started the rivalry with a 54-41 win in the 1984 semifinal, before earning a 46-45 win in the ’85 semi.
The Pronghorns exacted some revenge in 1986, beating the Pandas 68-53 in the conference semi, en route to a third place finish at the national tournament.
This season, the Pandas swept the ‘Horns at home, winning 68-62 and 68-59.
Wild and Kary
The Pandas playoff success may very well come down to the play of their two star guards. Emma Kary led the Pandas with 17.2 points per game, ninth best in CW. Vanessa Wild finished second with a career-best 15.2 points per game.
U SPORTS Appearances
The Golden Bears are looking for a third-straight U SPORTS Championship appearance, after finishing 7th in 2017 and 2018.
The Pandas are aiming to get back for the first time since 2016, which was the tail-end of three-straight appearances.
The top two Canada West finishers automatically qualify for nationals, with one spot open for the At-Large Berth.