Head coach Scott Reeves was open about the status of his TRU WolfPack women’s basketball team, which will play its Canada West home opener on Friday at the Tournament Capital Centre.
“We’re in a bit of a rebuild phase,” said Reeves, who’s been at the Pack’s helm for 13 years.
“We’ve got a bunch of new kids. Half our team are freshmen. When you’ve got that much learning going on, it kind of seems, at times, like you’re spinning your wheels.
“But we’ve made good progress over the pre-season and we had some tough games down in Fraser Valley, where we didn’t shoot it as well.”
The Pack’s crosshairs were so wonky against the Cascades that Kamloopsians waking up to frost on windshields may be prone to blame the ice-cold shooting performances.
TRU had field-goal percentages of 23.6 per cent in a 58-44 defeat on Oct. 27 and 28.6 per cent in a 62-50 loss on Oct. 26.
“The only way to work on that is by getting some confidence,” said Michelle Bos, a fifth-year guard who is tied for the lead in WolfPack scoring with 21 points after two games.
“You get that by getting into the gym. We had a bye week last weekend. I know every single one of our players got in the gym last week and got hundreds of shots up.”
Perhaps the WolfPack (0-2) will heat up against the Victoria Vikes (3-1) and the reigning conference female first star of the week, Amira Giannattasio, who had 44 points, five rebounds and four steals in a 113-108 loss to UBC on Nov. 1.
Game time is 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the TCC.
Victoria was ranked seventh and TRU 13th among 17 teams in a pre-season Canada West coaches’ poll.
TRU’s spot in the pecking order is largely due to having seven first- or second-year players on the 11-woman roster.
Emily Vilac of Kamloops is among three graduating players, keen to finish her university basketball career with a respectable campaign and relishing more the prospect of playing on home court.
“Playing at home means a lot to us, especially the girls who have lived and played here as long as we can remember,” said Vilac, who won a provincial high school basketball title with the South Kamloops Titans in 2013.
“This is our last year. May as well leave it all out there.”
Freshmen Emily Ferguson, Lauren Walkley and Emma Lizzee and fifth-year guard Kanesha Reeves are also from Kamloops.
“It’s going to take some time to get two, three years of recruiting in,” Reeves said. “With us not graduating anyone next year, there is going to be some rebuild. That’s just the cycle of things at this level.”
TRU posted an 18-2 record in 2014-2015 and followed with a 15-5 mark in 2015-2016, with both seasons ending in defeat in conference quarter-finals. The Pack missed the playoffs with a 2-18 record in 2016-2017 and an 8-12 mark last season.
The team’s fourth- and fifth-year players, of which there are four, will be relied on to pace the club this season. More help should be on the way in 2019-2020.
“This is a big recruiting class,” Reeves said. “There is a lot of depth and talent out there at the high-school level.
"Hopefully, we get the two or three key ones we are going after and we can build for the future.”