Redeemer Lady Royals basketball prepare for change

A trip to Eastern Canada, the ‘losing streak’, and a brand new season is the talk around the women’s basketball team as they prepare for the 2011-2012 season. For the team, this year could not start soon enough, as the coaches and players are determined to make significant improvements this year. The change will begin this week as the team heads out to Eastern Canada for a pre-season exhibition trip that sees stops in both Quebec and New Brunswick. This is the first competition outside of the province for the women’s basketball team and the team can’t wait to get going.

The team left early Thursday morning and was scheduled to play against Champlain College in Sherbrooke, QC at Bishops University. On the weekend the team will travel to New Brunswick to St. Thomas University to play in the Ken Gould Invitational.

The program is moving forward behind the direction of the coaching staff of Rob Hooper and Greg Best. The team has brought in a number of recruits over the summer, has worked hard to successfully bring in a number of key sponsorships, and have added the exhibition trip out East to Quebec and New Brunswick to kick off the 2011-2012 season. Athletic Director Dave Mantel commented regarding the women’s basketball program. He said, “we see a great opportunity for improvement in women’s basketball within the OCAA. Over the last year or two we have received a great deal of interest from elite athletes interested in coming to Redeemer. We are continuing to make improvements to the program, backed by Coach Hooper and Best, so that we have a lot to offer to interested basketball players. We’ve been blessed by significant community support that has allowed us to make these improvements. Now it is a matter of getting people talking about everything that is going right with our program rather than focusing on the past.”

The past has not been kind to the Lady Royals. Despite a handful of wins in exhibition and tournament play, the Lady Royals have not won a game dating all the way back to February 10th, 2006 against St. Clair College. The score was 67-56. Cross town rival Mohawk College began the Royals losing streak on February 17th, 2006 and the women’s team has not won a league game since going 0-69.

Fleming College in Peterborough recently lived through its own losing streak that began in 2005. They were riding a 74 game losing streak dating back to 2005. They broke the streak on October 28th, 2009 when they defeated Centennial College 57-43.

Lady Royals veteran Morrissa Lychak was asked about the losing streak and the future of the team. “It’s (the streak) a big deal to us. It’s talked about by the girls often. Coach Hooper and Best want to turn the program around and they are being very proactive. We understand that it’s not going to happen overnight but it is exciting to see the time and effort that is being put into the team in so many different ways”. Dave Mantel was also asked about the streak. He said, “I’m confident this years team will put the losing streak benind them. We want to have a positive outlook towards the future and move forward with the past behind us”.

The women’s basketball team will get their first crack at the new season when it opens up at home on November 4th against Sault College. This is Sault’s first year in OCAA women’s basketball. They then face Algoma University on November 5th also at home. On November 18th, the team travels to Lambton College to face the Lions who are also in OCAA women’s basketball for the first year.