VIU women’s basketball making gains early on

Vancouver Island University’s women’s basketball team plays a pair of home exhibitions against out-of-league opponents this weekend.

The VIU Mariners hope that playing higher-tiered teams will help them to raise their level.

Vancouver Island University’s women’s basketball team plays a pair of exhibitions against out-of-league opponents, facing the Trinity Western University Spartans on Friday and the George Fox University Bruins on Saturday. TWU are a Canadian Interuniversity Sport team, while Oregon’s George Fox plays in the NCAA’s Div. 3.

Bill McWhinnie, coach of the Mariners, said in an e-mail interview that the challenge for his team will be to put forward 40-minute efforts in both games.

“When you play teams from higher leagues, you must compete physically and win the small battles,” he said. “I’m hoping to continue to see improvement both nights, in particular, at the defensive end.”

The Mariners tipped off exhibition play last weekend with two losses in the Interior against the UBC-Okanagan Heat. League play won’t start up until the end of October.

In the meantime, the Mariners have built great chemistry, said the coach, and have shown an ability to deal with adversity.

“I like the effort and attitude of this group,” he said. “They genuinely play for each other.”

Friday night’s game against the Spartans will be at the Dover Bay Secondary School gym due to a volleyball tournament at VIU.

“It’s nice to get out into the community,” McWhinnie said.

GAME ON … Friday’s game is a 7 p.m. tipoff at Dover and Saturday’s game is at 7 p.m. at the VIU gym.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com