he women’s Bisons basketball team took the court this past weekend as they faced off in back-to-back games against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.
The series started with a game on Friday that resulted in the Wesmen closing the Bisons lead in the Duckworth Challenge. The score currently sits at 2-1 for the U of M.
The competition between the U of M and the U of W’s soccer, volleyball and basketball teams celebrates the cross-town rivalry between the two universities. Each team plays a home-and-home series. Teams are awarded points for winning games, and the university that has the most points at the end of the year takes home the Duckworth Challenge title. The U of W is the reigning Duckworth champion.
The Bisons took a 1-0 lead earlier in the year with a women’s soccer victory over the Wesmen.
The Wesmen’s basketball team took the 95-47 blowout victory on Friday over a Bisons team that shot 25 per cent from the field.
The team came to play a little harder on Saturday but still took the 77-61 loss.
A nearly 34 per cent shooting from the field gave Manitoba its eighth loss on the season and drop to 2-8 on the year.
The one bright spot for the Bisons on Saturday was second-year forward Autumn Agar.
Agar finished the game with 33 minutes played and a 20-point performance.
She set season highs in almost every category in this game, including points.
“I had a great night on Saturday and it all had to do with my team,” Agar said.
“I was given great minutes and an opportunity to play with high-level players. I had a lot of great passes come my way and my shooting just seemed to be working.”
Although Agar played a great game, the team still could not come up with the victory. This has been a trend all year with the Bisons being 2-8. Agar is hopeful the squad will turn it around.
“Having a losing record is never fun,” Agar said.
“Overall as a team, we are disappointed that we are not doing better, but we have no quit. We have a good group of girls who want to compete and want to win and I believe that we can with the right attitude.”
Back-to-back losses in a weekend are not ideal, especially when both are by a considerable number of points.
With that being said, Agar thinks that some positive can come out of the disappointing weekend.
“Losing back-to-back games on the weekend is an extremely tough blow to the morale [of] the team,” Agar said.
“The one positive that I could bring out in this game is the fact that we played a better overall game on Saturday. We were not happy with our Friday game and made the necessary changes to give us a chance to win.”
The Bisons have six more games before they potentially move on to the playoffs. The team needs to have a strong end to the season to be given not only a better seed, but also a confidence booster.
“I think our team just needs to trust each other if we are going to make a splash in the playoffs,” Agar said.
“We will be an underdog team when it comes playoff time and that is not necessarily a bad thing for us. I think we need to practice and then we will surprise a few people around the league.”