Basketball Mariners built to contend

Vancouver Island University’s women’s basketball team will be going to nationals no matter what.

VIU Mariners guard Jamie MacFarlane puts up a shot during practice Tuesday night at the Vancouver Island University gym.

Basketball season has only just tipped off, and the VIU Mariners already know how it’s going to end.

Vancouver Island University’s women’s basketball team will be going to nationals no matter what – it’s got a host berth – so from now until then, there’s a process of ensuring that the Mariners belong.

“We know that we’re going to be playing in late March; we want to be playing our best basketball at that point,” said Bill McWhinnie, M’s coach. “So that’s all we’re doing day by day is just trying to get better.”

The journey started last Thursday with VIU’s season opener, a 53-49 home win over the Camosun Chargers.

“We were in trouble and we got out of it … I think we did very well,” said Jamie MacFarlane, veteran guard.

The coach liked the way the Mariners made big plays down the stretch and said it’s a confidence builder for players to succeed in those sorts of situations.

“We had highs and lows all throughout that game and it really tested us,” said Jenna Carver, veteran forward. “Ending up with a win really shows what we’re made of.”

The makeup of the Mariners is quite different from last year with key starters moving on, including two of the top scorers in the Pacific Western Athletic Association.

“It’s a brand-new team, new everything. Teams don’t know what to expect from us, which I think is a good thing,” Carver said.

Forward Sienna Pollard from Auburn, Wash., is a high-scoring newcomer and freshman guard Emily Clarke will be an immediate contributor. The coach will be looking to veterans like MacFarlane, Carver and point guard Amanda Tapia for big seasons.

“Instead of having a 20-point scorer and a 17-point scorer, we might have four 10-point scorers, and that’s fine,” McWhinnie said. “We have talent, it’s just going to take time to get this talent playing together.”

The nationals-bound Mariners know they have a rare opportunity in front of them this season, but at this stage of the season, it still seems far away. There is a lot of basketball, first, that they’re looking forward to playing.

“We’re just focused on our games ahead, the next game, and when we get there, we get there,” MacFarlane said.

GAME ON … VIU’s women’s and men’s basketball teams play road games Friday (Nov. 7) and Saturday against the Douglas Royals and Langara Falcons, respectively.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New minister leading services at St. Andrew’s in Nanaimo

Rev. Greg Darjes returned this month to the church in the Old City Quarter after 18 years elsewhere

Nanaimo mall hosting ‘dance up to bullies’ event on Pink Shirt Day

Aunti Bobbi the Clown organizing song-and-dance fundraiser

Haliburton Street access from highway to be closed overnight for pipe installation

Right-turn-only lane at Haliburton access closed Monday night and Tuesday morning, Feb. 24-25

Astrophysicist to explain how new telescope turns stars into rainbows

Guest speaker describes 11.25-metre aperture Maunakea Spectral Explorer program Feb. 27 in Nanaimo

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: NRGH needs additional disability parking stalls

Hospital has greater need of disability parking than the mall, for example, says letter writer

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

VIU hoops teams head into provincials on winning note

Vancouver Island University women’s and men’s teams have first-round byes

Nanaimo Clippers win Island Division, will face Alberni in playoffs

Clippers blow out Bulldogs 6-1 on last day of BCHL regular season

City of Nanaimo looks at corporate names for civic facilities

Finance and audit committee recommends approving plan to create policy around facility naming rights

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Most Read