Timberwolves near end of tough season
At least they’ll have their home court.
Even with the luxury of their own fans in their backyard, the UNBC men’s basketball team faces a substantial challenge. The Timberwolves will try to slow down the league’s hottest team, Vancouver’s UBC Thunderbirds, on the Northern Sport Centre hardwood this weekend.
The Timberwolves and Thunderbirds are scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. tonight. They’ll play the second half of the doubleheader on Saturday, at the same time and place.
With 10 consecutive victories, the Thunderbirds carry the longest winning streak in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association. They lead the 16-team CWUAA standings with a 16-2 record.
“They’re a tough, tough team. They’re ranked Number 2 in the country right now and they’ve got good team size, good athletes, they’re what you’d expect, really, out of a UBC team,” Timberwolves head coach Todd Jordan says. “They get some of the best players in the province out of the high school ranks every year, and they’re loaded with talent, from top to bottom. It’s going to be a good test for us, that’s for sure.”
Still seeking its first victory of 2013, UNBC falls on the other side of the equation. The Timberwolves hold the longest losing streak in Canada West, with eight straight losses. They haven’t recorded a victory since defeating the Saskatchewan Huskies 93-90 on Dec. 1, 2012 at the NSC, their last game before Christmas.
The Timberwolves carry a 5-13 mark into this evening’s contest. They’re coming off a pair of road losses against the Victoria Vikes, 89-80 on Friday and 72-61 on Saturday.
The Timberwolves were 5-5 when the new year began. A little more than a month later, and they’re clinging onto razor thin playoff hopes. A UNBC loss or a win by the Langley-based Trinity Western Spartans (9-9) and they’re mathematically eliminated.
“Nobody is happy about losing games and nobody is happy that we’re out of a playoff spot,” Jordan says. “The competitive side of you does make those difficult things to deal with. But they’re showing up to practice every day and the attitude the last couple of weeks has been pretty positive and those sort of things, so we’re dealing with it the best that we possibly can.”
In a weekend visit to Vancouver Island, the Timberwolves were swept by the Victoria Vikes, losing 89-80 on Friday and 72-61 on Saturday. The Vikes (13-5) sit second in the division, while the Fraser Valley Cascades of Abbotsford (10-8) are third. Half a game ahead of UNBC, the TRU WolfPack of Kamloops sports a 6-13 mark.
The Pacific is rounded out by the Mount Royal Cougars of Calgary (3-15) and the UBC-Okanagan Heat of Kelowna (3-16).
The Timberwolves close out their 22-game schedule with a home doubleheader against Mount Royal, Feb. 15 and 16 at the NSC.
The UNBC Timberwolves’ inaugural Canada West women’s basketball season is winding down.
Back on their home court, the Timberwolves will round out their schedule with four home games. The final regular-season stretch begins with a doubleheader against the UBC Thunderbirds (tonight and Saturday, 6 p.m. at the Northern Sport Centre). Following the weekend, they’ll focus on their final two games, a two-game NSC set against the Mount Royal Cougars.
Playing in an eight-team Pacific Division with a wide gap between the top half and bottom half, UNBC has been out of the playoff picture since early in the new year. They sit fifth in the division at 6-12, but know they can move no higher in the standings, the fourth-place Victoria Vikes sporting a 13-5 mark.
The Fraser Valley Cascades lead the division at 15-3, followed by the UBC Thunderbirds (14-4) and TRU WolfPack (14-5). The Cascades, Thunderbirds, WolfPack and Vikes will advance to the Canada West playoffs.
The division is rounded out by the Trinity Western Spartans (5-13), Mount Royal (5-13) and the UBC Okanagan Heat (5-14).
The Timberwolves were swept on the weekend in a road doubleheader against the Victoria Vikes. The Vikes outscored the Timberwolves 65-48 on Friday and 82-66 on Saturday.