News and notes: Lethbridge College women’s basketball team caps undefeated season with national championship

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The Lethbridge College women’s basketball team completed a second consecutive undefeated regular season in 2016-17 and then added a conference championship and a historic national title at the CCAA national championships in Edmonton in March. The exceptional play during the season and playoffs marked the Kodiaks squad as one of the greatest athletic teams in Lethbridge College history.

“I told the girls, ‘once you win, it can’t be taken away from you,’” says Brad Karren, Kodiaks head coach. “They are national champions forever, and that is not an easy thing to do. But they have done it and I’m so proud of them.”

The Kodiaks dominated the competition during the ACAC regular season while compiling a 21-0 record, defeating opponents by more than ten points in all but two games. At provincials, which they hosted on their own home court, the Kodiaks steamrolled past Lakeland in the opening round and overcame their semifinal demons from a year earlier with a convincing 66-50 victory over the SAIT Trojans. In front of a raucous, capacity crowd, the Kodiaks assured a memorable 85-54 win over the St. Mary’s Lightning, capturing the 13th ACAC championship in program history.

The team then travelled to NAIT to take on the best teams in Canada at the 2017 CCAA National Championships. Entering as the third seed, Lethbridge rolled past first round opponent British Columbia’s Douglas College before facing their toughest test of the season in the semifinal against Quebec champion Nomades de Montmorency. After the Kodiaks jumped out to a 19-point lead in the second quarter, the Nomades caught fire and eventually tied the game at 70, setting up an exhilarating final two minutes. In the end, the Kodiaks hit a pair of clutch jumpers and prevailed 74-70, setting up a national title match with Montreal’s Dawson College Lady Blues.

In the national final, the Kodiaks overcame early nerves and rode Sunder West’s 23 points to an 81-57 victory, claiming the fourth CCAA women’s basketball championship in program history after previous wins in 1989, 1990 and 2004.

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