SASKATOON – Newly-minted Canada West award winners Sabine Dukate and Summer Masikewich showed up when their team needed them the most to lead the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women's basketball team to a Canada West Championship banner by a score of 53-49 over the Regina Cougars.
Dukate, who was recently named the conference's player of the year, scored a game-high 23 points in her 38 minutes on the court while Masikewich, the conference's defensive player of the year, added 18 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
Together the two combined for 77 per cent of Saskatchewan's scoring in a tight defensive battle.
"We were fumbling passes, throwing balls out of bounds, looking unsure and we were lucky to hang on, I thought Summer was outstanding defensively," said Huskies head coach Lisa Thomaidis "I didn't think it was going to be our night tonight the way we were playing, we were fortunate to take the lead back and then extend it."
Regina spread out their scoring across nearly the entire lineup and were led by Michaela Kleisinger with nine points and Angela Bongomin who scored eight.
"I thought it was an ugly game for both teams but at the end of the day their top two players did a really good job," said Cougars head coach Dave Taylor. "Sabine is a Cougar killer, she has those games against us and hits those big shots."
A back-and-forth game that saw the teams combine for 28 turnovers came to life near the end of the fourth quarter.
A nice up-and-under move from Masikewich put Saskatchewan up 51-44 with just two minutes left to play.
Searching for their second-consecutive Canada West championship, the Cougars refused to go away however and a five-point run was capped off by an and-one play from Bongomin to cut the deficit to two.
In front of a raucous 1,658 fans inside the PAC, Saskatchewan would take back the momentum after a huge defensive play from Masikewich followed up by a pair of made free throws from the the third-year forward gave the Huskies a 53-49 lead that they would never relinquish.
"I'm so happy, that was a team victory, a fight to the end and those are the most rewarding games to win," said Masikewich. "It's always tight when we play Regina so I'm happy we were able to weather the storm and come out on top."
The title is the sixth conference championship in program history and third in the past five years. Both of these teams will now head to Toronto where they will compete for national glory at the U SPORTS Final 8 from March 7-10.