Women's basketball: Eagles out-powered in playoff semis

The Kwantlen Eagles fall to the Capilano Blues; now look ahead to bronze match.

The Kwantlen Eagles fall to the Capilano Blues; now look ahead to bronze match. 

By Brian Jones
[associate sports editor] 

The Kwantlen women were one game away from the PacWest final, and a guaranteed seed to nationals.

The only thing standing in their way was the Capilano Blues: the top-ranked team in the province, which is also the 15th-ranked team in the country and boasts a starting lineup with 17 combined seasons of college basketball experience.

It’s safe to say that the Blues were a little more than an obstacle.

Kwantlen Eagles guard Jeanneine Yngreso leads the fast break during Friday’s semifinal against Capilano. (Brian Jones/The Runner)

Capilano used a huge first quarter and consistently dominant play to beat the Eagles 75-57 in Friday’s seminal at Camosun’s Pacific Institute For Sport Excellence (PISE).

“To be honest, we kind of achieved our goal,” said the Eagles’ head coach Dan Nayebzadeh. “Our goal was to win our first game.  And I’m still proud of the kids. They worked hard all season.”

After outscoring the Eagles 21-5 in the opening frame, Capilano continued to wear Kwantlen down with their smart, relentless offensive attack. Their fifth-year one-woman wrecking crew Jenn Bodnar was too much to handle, disrupting the Eagles passing lanes and decimating their defense on the other end.

“To be honest it’s hard to beat fourth and fifth year players when they’ve had experience going to this game every year,” said Nayebzadeh.

Frustrated Eagles watch fourth quarter from court-side. (Matt Bossons/The Runner)

But for a Kwantlen team that has been impressive all year as such a young squad, it’s the experience on the provincial playoff stage that becomes invaluable for the Eagles.

Nayebzadeh points out second-year point guard Jessica Villadiego as being the backbone of a team that has hung around with B.C. powerhouses all year.

“I think it’s been Jess the whole time. She’s the captain, she’s the leader, she’s the hardest working kid and everything kind of looks up to her.”

Today the Eagles face the Douglas College Royals for third place – a team that suffered a heartbreaking two-point loss last night to Vancouver Island University. A team they failed to beat in three tries this season.

The idea of returning home with a bronze is important to Nayebzadeh.

“I think it’s a big thing. I certainly think winning tomorrow would be a huge accomplishment. But whatever the result I’m still proud of them,” he said.

The game tips off at 1 p.m. at Camosun’s PISE. Catch the game live on SportsCanada.tv

Follow associate sports editor @bjonesbc on Twitter for live on location game updates and analysis.