SARNIA, Ontario — Through two weeks, the 2018-19 season in the ACAA has been fun.
Atop the standings you’ll find the usual suspects. The Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics are the lone team without a loss to their name, sitting at 5-0 and in first place in the eight-team league. Right behind them are the Mount Allison Mounties, who sit at 3-1 and are four points behind the Mystics with a game in-hand.
In the latest edition of the CCAA Top 15 rankings, three teams from the ACAA find themselves inside the rankings. The Mystics come in as the #3 team, the Mounties are the #6 team, and the St. Thomas Tommies cracked this week’s rankings and are ranked #15 after being unranked to start the year. Having three teams from the ACAA in the rankings shows just how strong the league is this season.
Over the last seven days, there were several standout performances from players across the conference. However, five student-athletes stood out above the rest, and those five players make up this week’s edition of the Starting Five.
Starting Five: Nov. 5 – 11, 2018
Emily Briggs – Crandall Chargers
7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals in 65-28 loss vs. Mount Allison
30 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block in 70-68 loss vs. Holland
15 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 7 steals, 1 block in 78-37 win at Dalhousie AC
It’s rare to see three games in one week for teams across Canada unless it’s the post-season, but the Crandall Chargers took to the court three times over the last seven days in ACAA play. They were at home for two games to start the week before heading out on the road to close things out. Emily Briggs was a force on both ends of the floor for the Chargers despite the team going just 1-2 over the week. Crandall dropped both games at home before picking up a road win to salvage two points on the week and move to 2-3 on the year.
Briggs and the Chargers were stifled in their opener against the Mount Allison Mounties at home. Crandall dropped their opening game of the week to Mount Allison, 65-28. Briggs posted seven points, four rebounds, three assists, and five steals in the loss. From there, the Holland Hurricanes came to town looking to hand the Chargers another loss. It was a closer affair, but Crandall came out on the losing end once more, 70-68. Briggs went for 30 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and one steal in the loss. She saved her best performance for the final game of the week. Briggs flirted with a triple-double against the Dalhousie AC Rams, guiding the Chargers to the 78-37 win in the process. Briggs recorded 15 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, and seven steals on the night to cap off a stellar week.
Over the three games, Briggs averaged 17.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 4.3 steals per contest.
Christina Richardson – St. Thomas Tommies
10 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks in 84-53 win vs. Holland
It was a quiet week for the St. Thomas Tommies with just one game on their schedule, but they made sure to make a statement that stretched across the CCAA landscape. The Tommies played host to the Holland Hurricanes and were looking to move to 2-2 on the year and remain within striking distance of the ACAA leaders. When the week was done, not only did the Tommies pick up their second win of the season, they also saw their name in the latest CCAA Top 15 rankings. St. Thomas University was one of two newcomers to the rankings this week, coming in at the 15th spot.
Against the Hurricanes, it was Christina Richardson who helped lead a balanced attack from the host Tommies to victory. Richardson recorded a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds in the Tommies’ 84-53 victory over Holland College. She added four assists, one steal, and two blocks for an all-round performance. It was just her second game of the year with double-digit points combined through exhibition play and the regular season.
Richardson is averaging 5.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game this season through four games.
Nikki Arsenault – Mount Saint Vincent Mystics
21 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, 1 block in 105-54 win vs. UNB Saint John
14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal in 64-40 win at UKC
The Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) Mystics have been a model of success in recent years in the ACAA. Regularly, the Mystics are in contention for the ACAA Championship and a spot at the CCAA National Championships. They have secured four ACAA silver medals and one gold medal since 2010, and they are coming off a fourth-place finish at the National Championships in 2017-18. This season, Nikki Arsenault and the Mystics are one of the top teams in Canada, and after a pair of wins this past week, they sit at 5-0 early on in ACAA play.
Arsenault and the Mystics had two games this past week, one each at home and on the road. They opened the week at home against the UNB Saint John Seawolves. Arsenault led the way for the home side, posting 21 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and five steals in the 105-54 win for MSVU. From there, they went on the road to take on the UKC Blue Devils looking to extend their winning streak to five games. Behind 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists from Arsenault, the Mystics rolled to the 24-point win over the Blue Devils, 64-40.
For the week, Arsenault averaged 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.5 steals per contest.
Karly Buckingham – Mount Allison Mounties
18 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal in 65-28 win at Crandall
10 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist in 56-31 win vs. UNB Saint John
As the old saying goes, defense wins championships. This past week, the Mount Allison Mounties used a strong defensive presence to pick up a pair of wins in ACAA play to continue their strong play over the first month of the season. Karly Buckingham put together a pair of strong performances on both ends of the court to take on a starring role for the Mounties as they continue their quest towards a league title and a spot at the CCAA National Championships. Mount Allison held both opponents below 35 points over their two wins, and their point total from their first game of the week surpassed the combined score of both of their opponents for the week.
Buckingham and the Mounties were at home for both games this week. First up was a showdown with the Crandall Chargers. Behind 18 points, three rebounds, and three assists from Buckingham, the Mounties cruised to the 65-28 win over the Chargers to begin their week on the right foot. From there, the UNB Saint John Seawolves came to town, and it was more of the same for Mount Allison. They rolled to the 56-31 win to improve their record to 3-1 on the year, and Buckingham finished the night with 10 points and four rebounds.
For the week, Buckingham averaged 14.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game.
Sydnee Balser – Crandall Chargers
7 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals in 65-28 loss vs. Mount Allison
8 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals in 70-68 loss vs. Holland
22 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 7 steals, 1 block in 78-37 win at Dalhousie AC
As stated above when talking about the performances of Emily Briggs over the week, it’s tough for teams to play three games in a week, let alone three games from Wednesday through Sunday in collegiate basketball. It’s a rare occurrence north of the border in Canada, but it’s the situation that the Crandall Chargers found themselves in over the last week. Two home games kicked off the week while a road contest wrapped up another week as the Chargers continue towards their goal of an ACAA Championship. Sydnee Balser had a quiet start to her week on offense, but she put together three solid two-way performances that are worth noting.
In the opener against Mount Allison, Balser went for seven points, nine rebounds, and two steals in the Chargers’ 65-28 loss. The seven points from Balser were tied for the team-high on the night. From there, Holland College came to town and Balser struggled to find her mark on offense in a two-point loss for Crandall University, 70-68. Balser was held to just eight points on offense, but she did add seven rebounds and two steals. In the final game of the weekend, Balser put together a double-double to lead the Chargers past the Dalhousie AC Rams, 78-37. She went for 22 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, and seven steals in her best performance of the week.
Over the three games, Balser averaged 12.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 3.7 steals per game.
– T. Bennett