UVic Vikes basketball player Jessica Renfrew is the Canada West Athlete of the Week. The Vikes host the first place Regina Cougars and last place Brandon Bobcats

UVic Vikes basketball player Jessica Renfrew is the Canada West Athlete of the Week. The Vikes host the first place Regina Cougars and last place Brandon Bobcats

Athlete of the Week a sign Vikes are on the rise

Jessica Renfrew wins Athlete of the Week as Vikes basketball ready for No. 2 ranked Regina Cougars

Jessica Renfrew is team-first and there’s no other way about it.

The selfless basketball player has hit a new level this year as a regular starter for the UVic Vikes.

On Tuesday the 20-year-old was named Canada West’s Athlete of the Week for all sports, having helped the Vikes to a pair of road wins. Renfrew scored 21 points in the Vikes’ 72-51 win over the Winnipeg Wesmen and 23 points in a 79-62 win over the Manitoba Bisons on Friday and Saturday to win the award.

It’s all part of the Renfrew’s arrival as an all-star calibre player in the CIS.

“She won’t see it that way,” said Vikes coach Dani Sinclair.

“Renfrew just wants what’s best for the team. She’s very unselfish. Nobody works harder than her. She’s in the gym every single day, even in the summer, and it’s not for personal accolades, but because she wants the team to succeed.”

“I can’t remember any award that is as honouring as this one,” Renfrew said. “There are a lot of great basketball players in my league and my teammates have been super congratulatory (about Athlete of the Week), but it’s only because of our team success. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the team.”

It might sound cliché, but only to a point.

Before Renfrew joined the Vikes she was named Claremont secondary’s high school athlete of the year for her contributions to the provincial champion soccer team and basketball team that made the final-four. Only thing is, she’s not exactly sure which year she won it.

“Grade 11, I think.”

Renfrew’s now in her third season with the Vikes and is part of a core of younger players with fellow third-year Cassandra Goodis who bring promise to the rest of this season, and beyond.

Already Renfrew has seen the Vikes shift through major adversity. Her first year under former coach Brian Cheng was “a huge learning curve” playing behind CIS MVP Kayla Dykstra and veteran Vanessa Forstbauer. Then came the surprise second half to her rookie year, when injuries ended Dykstra’s and Forstbauer’s seasons, which led to regular floor time for Renfrew.

Then came the Vikes’ rebuild last season under new head coach Rich Chambers (currently on leave).

“I played a lot, and started, but it didn’t go as well as we’d hoped,” Renfrew said.

During those years Renfrew and Sinclair furthere cemented their relationship, one that started back in 2004 when Sinclair was the assistant coach on the 2004 B.C. Summer Games girls basketball team. Renfrew and Vikes second-year guard Shaylyn Crisp, also of Claremont, was on that team.

“Even back then Renfrew showed signs of being able to play at this level,” Sinclair said.

“She and I have built a relationship over a number of years, and I joke that I’m harder on her than anyone else, and I might be, so maybe that does go back to the fact that we’ve had a coach-player relationship for so long.”

“It really started to develop this year,” said Renfrew. “With me getting older and (Sinclair) starting to understand each other better, and our desires to be better.”

Key to Renfrew’s breakout success this year are the additions she’s made to her game.

“She has a pull-up shot now, shoots three consistently, and always has run the floor very well. She’s also become a better defender, a more well-rounded player.”

Statistically, fifth-year Vikes guard Debbie Yeboah is third among scorers in the Canada West with 223 points, an average of 18.6 per game. Renfrew is 12th with with 177 points (14.8 ppg). It breaks down to 71 field goals (two-pointers) as well as 19 three-pointers, which is 13th in the league.

Point guard Goodis is the leading setup player in the Canada West with an average of 6.8 assists per game, 82 in 12 games so far.

The Vikes are now 8-4 and face a huge test Friday night against the visiting Regina Cougars (11-1), the No. 2 ranked team in the CIS.

The women play at 6 p.m. in McKinnon Gym, with the men following at 8 p.m.

“To beat Regina you have to limit your mistakes,” Sinclair said. “They make you pay if you make mistakes, so we have to be nearly perfect in our execution. Not that we have to play outside of ourselves, but take care of detail, they’re very talented and have a lot of depth. They’ve been to national championships for many years running and they know how to win.”

Just Posted

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read