EDMONTON - With a majority of their veteran core returning, the Pandas basketball team enters 2019/20 with championship aspirations.
The Pandas have 13 returning student-athletes, including starters at every position. They also enter the season ranked sixth in the pre-season coaches poll.
They also supplemented the veteran core with a handful of key recruits, including Sydney Fedick, Julia Strigl, Claire Signatovich.
Alberta opened their season with a series split in Lethbridge against the Pronghorns, with four different Pandas scoring in double-digits over their two games.
PANDAS SEASON PREVIEW
2018-19 CW regular season record: 15-5, 4th in CW
2018-19 CW post-season record: 0-2, Lost to Lethbridge in CW QF
Head coach: Scott Edwards (14th season) / 204-70 (Career CW reg. season record)
Last CW championship / total CW championships: None
Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: 1999 / 1
2018-19 CW regular season ranks:
Offence: 74.3 PPG, 7th
Defence: 67.1 PPG, 6th
2018-19 CW regular season leaders:
Points per game: 17.2 – Emma Kary, G
Assists per game: 2.3 – Megan Tywoniuk, G
Rebounds per game: 7.7 - Emma Kary, G
Blocks per game: 1.2 – Brooklyn Legault, F
Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last team):
Sydney Fedick / Forward / 1 / Sherwood Park, AB / Jasper Place High School
Julia Strigl / Guard / 1 / North Vancouver, BC / Handsworth Secondary
Claire Signatovich / Forward / 1 / Winnipeg, MB / Oak Park High School
Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):
Aimee Wilson / Forward / Calgary, AB / 3
Spruce Grove, AB
Coming off her best season with the Pandas, which saw her finish with a career-high 15.2 points per game, fifth-year shooting guard Vanessa Wild returns to lead the Pandas this season.
Wild’s 15.2 points per game was the second-highest mark on Alberta last season, with her 44.9% shooting clip leading the team.
Already in non-conference play this season, Wild has been off to a torrid start. She already has games of 31, 27, 26, and 21 points, averaging over 20 points per game in seven NC games.
With an experienced roster that features 13 returning athletes, the Wild-led Pandas will enter the Canada West season as one of the contenders challenging for the conference title.
2019-20 CW WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL
Team / Points (First-place votes)
1. Saskatchewan Huskies / 256 (16)
2. Calgary Dinos / 240
3. UBC Thunderbirds / 212
4. Lethbridge Pronghorns / 197
5. Regina Cougars / 187
6. Alberta Pandas / 184
7. Fraser Valley Cascades / 164
8. Victoria Vikes / 157
9. Winnipeg Wesmen / 153
10. UNBC Timberwolves / 124
11. Manitoba Bisons / 102
12. *Trinity Western Spartans / 83
13. UBCO Heat / 83
14. Mount Royal Cougars / 49
15. MacEwan Griffins / 42
16. Thompson Rivers WolfPack / 40
17. Brandon Bobcats / 39
NOTES: * TWU receives higher ranking thanks to greater number of higher-place votes. First-place votes worth 16 pts., second-place 15 pts. etc.