The VIU Mariners women’s basketball team went into the season ranked No. 1 in the country, and all things considered, it’s handled the pressure.
Coach Bill McWhinnie said his team has kept focus, treating the rankings for what they are – a conversation piece.
“Being 5-1 and being in second place right now isn’t a bad place to be,” he said. “There’s lots of areas we need to improve on if we want to win a championship and hopefully we can start doing that over the winter break here.”
The team’s holiday plans centre around a trip to Arizona, where they will play community college opponents in Phoenix and Tempe.
“We still have a ways to go in the chemistry and bonding process and it doesn’t happen overnight,” McWhinnie said. “So a trip like this – being together for almost a week, staying in a hotel together, eating together, practising together, travelling together – will do nothing but benefit the chemistry of our team.”
Starting the season with five straight wins put VIU in a favourable position in the standings, but it will take much more to solidify the first-round playoff bye the Mariners seek.
“We have our toughest games still to be played,” said McWhinnie. “We still have to play Capilano and Quest and we still have a rematch with UNBC …We have a lot of work still to do to get there.”
GAME ON … The Mariners resume the Pacific Western Athletic Association schedule Jan. 13 with a home game against the Quest Kermodes.