SARNIA, Ontario — It was only the second week of the season, but fans were treated to an instant classic between the UBC Thunderbirds and Victoria Vikes inside the historic War Memorial Gymnasium.
It took 40 minutes of regulation time plus three overtime periods to decide a winner in the first of two games over the weekend between the two programs. When the dust settled, the Thunderbirds held down their home court with a 113-108 win. Both teams had players stuff the stat sheet when all was said and done, including a pair of student-athletes that you will see below.
Over the week, several of the top players from around the Canada West Conference put together more impressive performances. There were double-doubles all over the league over the weekend, including Vasiliki Louka, who looks to be the early front-runner for Player of the Year in the conference.
Here are five players from across the conference that stood out above the rest who make up this week’s Starting Five.
Starting Five: Oct. 29 – Nov. 4, 2018
Lauren Anderson – Brandon Bobcats
10 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal in 82-59 win at UBC Okanagan
19 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals in 82-78 win at UBC Okanagan
Winning on the road in collegiate basketball is never an easy thing to do, but Lauren Anderson and the Brandon Bobcats put together a pair of strong performances over the weekend against the UBC Okanagan Heat to get in the win column and improve their record to 2-2 on the year. After two losses at home against the Manitoba Bisons to open the season, Anderson and the Bobcats bounced back in a big way, picking up two important wins to build some momentum early in the new year.
On both nights against the Heat, Anderson was a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor. In their first meeting of the week, Anderson went for 10 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and one steal in the Bobcats’ 82-59 victory. When you factor in exhibition play, it was just their second win of the year thus far. The next night, Brandon made it two straight over the Heat with an 82-78 victory. Anderson posted another double-double, recording 19 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, and six steals for an impressive two-way performance on the road.
For the week, Anderson averaged 14.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 3.5 steals per game while guiding Brandon to their first regular season wins of the new campaign.
Taylor Randall – Manitoba Bisons
25 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals in 103-80 win vs. Mount Royal
19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steals in 75-69 win vs. Mount Royal
Taylor Randall and the Manitoba Bisons are one of four unbeaten teams left in the Canada West after another weekend sweep. To open the year, they swept the Brandon Bobcats on the road before returning home this past week for their home opener. The Bisons welcomed the winless Mount Royal Cougars to town, and they added to their misery by sweeping the weekend series to improve to 4-0 on the year. Randall stuffed the stat sheet on both nights, continuing her strong play to start the year.
In the first game of the weekend, the Bisons topped the 100-point mark for the first time this season, cruising to the 103-80 win. Randall posted 25 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. The next night saw the Cougars give the Bisons more of a challenge, but the result was still the same. Manitoba picked up the 75-69 win, and Randall was at the forefront once again. She posted 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and six steals in the Bisons’ six-point win.
For the week, Randall averaged 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 3.0 steals per game for the unbeaten Bisons.
Keylyn Filewich – UBC Thunderbirds
23 points, 27 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks in 113-108 3OT win vs. Victoria
14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists in 72-65 loss at Victoria
Any time a player pulls down 27 rebounds in a game, it’s worth talking about. This past week, Keylyn Filewich did just that for the UBC Thunderbirds in their first of two meeting with the Victoria Vikes in the second week of the season. The Thunderbirds entered the week having split their opening weekend series with the Saskatchewan Huskies at home, and they were looking to pick up at least one win against the Vikes in their home-and-home series over the weekend.
In the opener, fans witnessed an instant classic between the two teams in Vancouver. The Thunderbirds came away with the 113-108 victory over the Vikes in triple overtime, and there osme impressive stat lines when all was said and done. Leading the way for UBC was Filewich, who finished the night with 23 points, 27 rebounds, three assists and four blocks. It was going to be tough for the teams to replicate the magic in the second game of the weekend the following night in Victoria, but fans were treated to another close contest. Filewich went for 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, but the Thunderbirds fell to the Vikes to split the weekend series, 72-65.
For the week, Filewich averaged 18.5 points, 17.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per contest.
Vasiliki Louka – UNBC Timberwolves
22 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal in 75-68 win vs. Winnipeg
26 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists in 90-75 win vs. Winnipeg
Through four games this season, Vasiliki Louka has to be considered a front-runner for the Canada West Player of the Year award. She leads the conference in rebounding, and is fourth in terms of points per game. As for the UNBC Timberwolves as a cohesive unit, they are 4-0 heading into their off-week this weekend and haven’t lost a game all season, including exhibition. A pair of home wins this week over the Winnipeg Wesmen continued the strong start for both Louka and the Timberwolves, and they have shown no signs of slowing down.
In UNBC’s first game against Winnipeg this past week, Louka recorded 22 points and 14 rebounds for her third straight double-double to open the regular season. She added three assists in the Timberwolves’ 75-68 win. The next night, she made it four straight games with a double-double while guiding UNBC to the 90-75 victory to push their win streak to four. She recorded 26 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists in the win.
For the week, Louka averaged 24.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game for the 4-0 Timberwolves.
Amira Giannattasio – Victoria Vikes
44 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals in 113-108 3OT loss at UBC
16 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal in 72-65 win vs. UBC
Just like Filewich and her 27 rebounds in the first game between the UBC Thunderbirds and Victoria Vikes, any time a player pours in 44 points in a game, it’s worth talking about. Amira Giannattasio did all that she could to help secure the win for the Vikes in their triple-overtime thriller on the road against UBC, but they fell short when the final buzzer went off. Giannattasio is tied for the lead in the conference in scoring this season, and she was an integral part of the Vikes earning a split against the Thunderbirds over the weekend.
In their opening game of the weekend, the Vikes dropped the triple overtime thriller against the Thunderbirds, 113-108. On the night, Giannattasio went for 44 points in the loss, shooting 15-of-31 (48.4%) from the field. She added five rebounds and four steals in the loss. The next night, the Vikes came out on top, pushing their record to 3-1 on the year with a 72-65 victory over UBC at home. Giannattasio went for 16 points, four rebounds, and three assists in the win to cap off her strong week on the offensive end of the floor.
For the week, Giannattasio averaged 30.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.5 steals per game.
– T. Bennett