THE University of British Columbia senior women's basketball team, featuring five players from North Vancouver, battled all the way to the CIS championship game before falling 69-53 Monday night to the Windsor Lancers at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium in Calgary.
The No. 2-ranked Thunderbirds were trying for their first title since 2008 but trailed most of the way against the hard-fighting No. 4-ranked Lancers who claimed their second consecutive national title.
Handsworth grads Kris Young and Kirsten Hughes joined fifth year senior and Argyle grad Alex Vieweg in the UBC starting lineup while Stephanie Bell and Erika Vieweg, both Argyle grads, rounded out the UBC bench. Both teams started tentatively with Alex Vieweg and Young providing the early scoring for the Thunderbirds before a three-point barrage from Windsor's Bojana Kovacevic pushed the Lancers to a 2012 lead at the end of the first quarter. A strong UBC surge in the third quarter closed the gap to one but the Thunderbirds could not take the lead and the Lancers raced away in the fourth quarter while holding UBC to just six points in the final frame.
Miah-Marie Langlois paced the Lancers to victory, registering team highs of 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to win her second consecutive CIS Final 8 Most Valuable Player award.
Young, a second-year guard and Canada West second-team all-star this season, led the way for the Thunderbirds in the losing effort, scoring 16 points and adding eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.
"It's a little bit of a letdown now but I think when we look back at it, we're going to be pretty proud of ourselves," Young said after the game. "You never forget the pain of losing a game like that. I'm going to carry that throughout my entire career, I'm not going to forget it but I also see my seniors and how sad it is for them in their last game so I don't want any of my years to end up like that so I'm going to carry it out."
Forward Alex Vieweg was one of those seniors. Playing her final game as a T-Bird, she recorded 11 points, two steals, two rebounds and a block. Vieweg and fellow senior Zara Huntley both were on that 2008 team that won the program's last title.
"I think we all just wanted to get together as a team and do a cheer and give each other a big hug," said Vieweg about how they reacted to this loss. "I know the girls wanted to do it for me and Zara as well but I don't want them to be sorry. I think we worked hard and had an unbelievable season."
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Young was named a first-team all-star at the tournament and also earned the Canada West Female Athlete of the week award after averaging 13.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists in UBC's three games at the national tournament.