June 15th, 2024

Pronghorns women’s basketball preparing for Canada West Final Four

By Justin Seward on March 17, 2022.

The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s basketball team is preparing for the program’s second appearance in three years at Canada West Final Four this weekend in Saskatoon.

The women’s team’s path to the Final Four included a narrow 80-77 win over the University of Manitoba Bisons and a 76-67 quarter-final win over Trinity Western University on the March-5-6.

“The feeling is excitement,” said Dave Waknuk, Pronghorns women’s basketball head coach.

“I mean for this program, anytime you get a chance to get to the Final Four— it’s not something that’s happened here a lot historically. I’ve been lucky enough that the last three seasons— this is our second trip back. So, for us, it’s been a good recent run and we look at it like this should happen all the time but historically it hasn’t happened all the time. So for us to be with the last four teams standing is massive for us and we’re excited to keep playing. We got another two weeks of basketball.”

When asked about what is being worked on heading into the Final Four, Waknuk says it’s a lot of cleaning up of what they do and to be good as they can.

“We’re going to look at pace of play, we’re going to look at taking care of the ball, rebounding the basketball—all those things that are important to winning basketball games,” said Waknuk.

The Final Four will be a single elimination format, compared to the last trip when it was a series style format.

“I think what I learned out of that is while you got to prepare for your opponent, you have to prepare to be yourself as well,” said Waknuk.

Waknuk said the playoff run showed you what the intensity of playoff basketball is.

“It’s physical, it’s fast— there’s no room for error or very little room for error,” said Waknuk.

“We did a good job of being versatile and adaptable. I think that’s been our biggest strength all year. We’ve been able to play differently when we needed it and we did that in the playoffs. We were able to do that down the stretch.”

For fourth-year guard Jessica Haenni, the Final Four appearance means a lot considering the work the team put in this year.

“We’ve really built as a team since the beginning of the year and really just peaking right now. So we’re all really excited,” said Haenni.

What Haenni has learned about her teammates this season is they’re competitive and have the same goals.

“And so I think having a united front right now is exactly what we need to do well in the Final Four,” she said.

Haenni says it’s having a good start to practice and having good energy, when it comes preparing for the Final Four.

The Pronghorns will play the host University of Saskatchewan Huskies at 6 p.m.

and the other semi-final will see Regina play Winnipeg at 8 p.m. on March 18

The bronze medal game will be 5 p.m. and the championship game at 7 p.m. on March 19.

The championship game teams will advance to the nationals in Kingston, Ont. from March 31-April 3.

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