BY DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen women's basketball team will look to continue its hot play from the first half of the season with a home-and-home against a provincial rival.
The Wesmen men's and women's teams reopen Canada West conference play Friday in Brandon and return home for the back end of the two-game series Saturday at Duckworth Centre.
It is the women who are riding high as the hottest team currently in Canada West, winners of six straight games dating back to Nov. 12. Winnipeg's 8-4 record puts it in fifth place, four points back of conference leader Lethbridge.
The Wesmen will get a struggling Bobcats team to kick off the 2018 portion of their schedule. Brandon (2-8) lost its last three games of the first semester and haven't beaten the Wesmen since Jan. 7, 2016. The Wesmen have won three straight against Brandon in that span.
Wesmen fifth-year point guard Antoinette Miller brings her 25.6 points-per-game average into the weekend, a stat that leads the conference and the nation. Last year's Canada West outstanding player and defensive player of the year winner is hitting on 48.4 per cent of her three-point shots, a mark that is fourth in Canada and tops in Canada West.
Faith Hezekiah, a third-year forward, is also among the nation's leaders, ranking eighth in U SPORTS in rebounding at 10.4 per game, which is third in Canada West.
The game will showcase two of the conference's finest scorers with Miller and fifth-year Brandon guard Keisha Cox, who missed the final three games of the first semester. Cox averages 18.3 points per game.
The Winnipeg men's team will look to kickstart its 2018 by taking away from an upstart Bobcats team that is off to a 6-4 start.
The Wesmen (3-9) battled through injuries and one of the toughest 2017 schedules in the conference and snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over MacEwan in the last weekend of the first semester. The Wesmen faced three of the conference's top four teams in the month of November and now prepare for a stretch of January basketball against opponents from the former Great Plains Athletic Conference – Brandon, Manitoba and Regina.
The Wesmen should have fourth-year forward Sean Tarver back in the lineup. The Baltimore native has been limited to just three games this season due to injury.
The women tip at 6 p.m. Friday in Brandon, with the men at 8. The return games will tip at 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Duckworth Centre.
Big test for Wesmen volleyball
The No. 7-ranked Wesmen men's volleyball team will be put to the test against the top-ranked Trinity Western Spartans this weekend in Langley, B.C.
The Wesmen (10-2) sit just two points back of 11-1 TWU as they prepare for two matches Friday and Saturday on the west coast. Winnipeg finished third at its own Wesmen Classic over the holidays and had a four-match win streak in conference play snapped just before the holiday break.
The Wesmen are 4-1 away from home and are 5-1 in matches that go five sets.
Trinity Western, meanwhile, has not lost at home this season and is carrying a nine-match win streak into the weekend.
On the women's side, the Wesmen (1-11) will face a TWU team that has won eight in a row on its way to a 9-3 conference record and a No. 10 ranking in U SPORTS.
Left side Kalena Schulz leads the young U of W squad in kills with 110 on the season.
Match times are 6 p.m. CT (women) and 8 p.m. (men) Friday, and 5 and 7 on Saturday.
All Wesmen games can be watched on webcast at canadawest.tv.