Sports

VIU Mariners flex muscle

Vancouver Island University Mariners basketball player Brittany Knievel goes for a block during practice Tuesday at the VIU gym. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Vancouver Island University Mariners basketball player Brittany Knievel goes for a block during practice Tuesday at the VIU gym.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The VIU Mariners women’s basketball team won its games by 36 points and 25 points last weekend, and will be heavy favourites again this weekend at home.

Focus can be a challenge, say the M’s (9-1), but they’ve developed some techniques to keep their eye on the ball during a dominant Pacific Western Athletic Association season.

“The most important thing for us to do is just play our game all the time, try to play hard all the time,” said Richelle Rafnkjelson, VIU veteran.

M’s coach Bill McWhinnie said the team tries to identify areas of improvement even in lopsided wins.

“We talk about things that we need to improve on, things like execution, communication, being good defensively,” he said.

It helps to have a deep, talented roster, because there’s internal competition for playing time, which inspires the Mariners to continue to push the pace even in blowout games.

“If you’re on the floor, it doesn’t matter the score, if you’re not doing your job, you’re coming out,” McWhinnie said. “They want to play so playing time’s always the ultimate motivator.”

Vancouver Island University’s basketball teams stayed perfect in the new year with four more wins on the weekend.

The VIU Mariners men’s and women’s teams travelled to the mainland to face the Kwantlen Eagles on Friday and the Langara Falcons on Saturday. The first night the men defeated the Eagles 84-72, then got past a quality Falcons team the next day 72-63. The M’s women were dominant on the road trip, beating the Eagles 74-38 on Friday and roughing up the Falcons 64-39 the following afternoon.

GAME ON … VIU’s basketball teams are both in action Friday (Jan. 27) and Saturday at the VIU gym, playing Columbia Bible College and Douglas College, respectively. On Friday the women tip off at 6 p.m.; the men at 8 p.m. Saturday’s action goes at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. For coverage of the Mariners' most recent home games, click here.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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