This Saturday, pink will be all the rage on the basketball court at the University of Victoria as the Vikes raise money for cancer research, while facing arch-rivals from the University of British Columbia.
The men’s and women’s Vikes face their UBC counterparts in back-to-back games at UBC on Friday, and at home on Saturday, the last of the regular season. For the home game, the men’s and women’s squad will don pink uniforms in support of Shoot for the Cure, a fundraiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
“Playing UBC is a big draw. It’s a huge rivalry between the schools. Games with them are a huge factor in where we will place,” said women’s coach Dani Sinclair.
The Vikes women expect to finish between second and fourth place in its conference and should clinch a playoff slot in the Canada West Championship, the quarterfinals leading into nationals.
The Vikes women have a strong playoff record including nine national championships, but last year they missed making the playoffs. “It’s good for us to get back in there,” Sinclair said. “We’d like to beat UBC. They are a very strong team, ranked sixth in Canada. That poses a tough challenge for us.”
This squad has plenty of talent, but Sinclair expects key players such as Debbie Yeboah (Winnipeg) and Claremont grad Jessica Renfrew to help carry the team into playoffs.
“(Renfew) is good at running the floor … one of our best three-point shooters and a good driver, she can get by anybody,” Sinclair said.
The Vikes men’s team is coming into its final games in a strong second place behind powerhouse UBC. The men have their sights squarely set on the nationals this year after placing fourth in the Canada West Final 4 last year.
“Obviously we want to get ourselves back into that game. When you get to the national tournament, anything can happen,” said coach Craig Beaucamp.
Beaucamp agreed Saturday will be a high-profile game, and will support a good cause, but it will be more about bragging rights than significance in the standings.
We should have clinched second,” Beaucamp said. “Placing first or second is more important than anything.”
The Vikes women face UBC on Saturday at 5 p.m. and the men play at 7 p.m. at the McKinnon Gym. Entry is by donation to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.