Yukon’s female basketball team started the Arctic Games tournament on the right foot, posting a 78-38 win over an outmatched Nunavut squad.
During the game’s opening minutes, Yukon couldn’t make a basket and Nunavut pulled away to a six-zero lead — but once Yukon found its groove, there was no chance for Nunavut.
“We came out a little jittery, but that’s to be expected in your first game,” said Yukon coach Diedre Davidson.
“I think we did pretty well for our first game; we hustled and got everything out for the rest of the tournament,” said veteran Roslyn Tait, who recently rejoined the team after playing high school ball in Red Deer, Alberta.
With the high school basketball season championships out of the way just last week, the players are still in good condition, although some are nursing injuries.
Point guard Chantai Minet led Yukon scorers with 15 points; Michelle McKay had 14, and Noria Deacon shot for 12.
“Angella Ell played very well, especially coming off an ankle injury,” said Davidson. “Our big people had some good defence, Noira Deacon and Roslyn Tait.”
Davidson said that although wiping the floor with Nunavut was good, the calibre of play is only going to get better.
“This is a strong group of teams, it’s going to be wide open — we have a chance, NWT and Yamal also have a chance.”
Yamal is a wildcard.
It’s the first time the Russians have brought a basketball team, and no one really knew what to expect.
Team Yukon got the chance to watch the Russians beat Alaska on Monday, 88-34.
“They’re fast; they like to push the ball, and they have some height,” said Davidson.
For Yukon’s continued success, they’ll have to capitalize on their strengths.
“I think we need to take advantage of our size; I’m 5’8” and I feel small compared to some of these girls,” said Davidson. “We need to take the ball inside, get shots in the paint. We also have some speed, if we can match the speed of NWT or Yamal, is hard to say.
We also have some shooters — once we get the ball inside, we can pop it out to Ell or McKay, or Minet, our outside shooters.”
“Getting to the finals is a definite possibility,” said team captain Ell.
“We just have to play hard, and play smart and we’ll definitely be able to do that.”