By Orrin Farries
Following back to back seasons finishing with a record of 15-9, and last year’s quarterfinal loss in the ACAC championships, the Ooks women’s basketball team will be looking to take the program further than just ACAC championships and over to British Columbia for the national championships.
Carly McHarg is a 3rd year forward from Calgary and one of the captains on head coach Todd Warnick’s team.
“I have good expectations for the year. It’s kind of exciting to start playing. You never know what’s going to happen until you step in to your first game, but we have a really good group of girls coming in, I think we’re all excited to start,” said McHarg.
Warnick will be on the end of the bench for his 10th season of coaching at NAIT and his 19th year of collegiate basketball coaching. Familiar with the lay of the land, Warnick is not in the business of tempering his expectations for the year.
“The [team] goals will develop organically over the course of the season,” said Warnick. “We return 10 athletes who have a good deal of playoff experience. With the quarterfinal loss last year to the ultimate national champions, Olds [College], and it basically being a two-possession game the entire game, there’s the realization that we are in that conversation.”
Both Warnick and his captain seemed to share the attitude that complacency had no place on the team and that the greatest challenge is in bringing the focus to the table from the get-go.
“It was a tough loss, but hopefully we can bring that into this season and know that we don’t want to get knocked out in the first round again. [The goal is to] make provincials, and obviously win. I think that’s really attainable,” said McHarg. “And then going to nationals… I’ve never had to compete at nationals, so I think that would be really cool.”
McHarg is looking forward to starting her season off strong, right from the start.
“The road to playoffs starts now. You can’t expect to walk into the first game and then start competing – the competition starts right now.”
The sentiment is echoed by coach Warnick, who expects his Ooks ratchet up their defensive efforts this year to get to the final four of the ACAC championships, or in his words, “out of the toilet bowl and into the positive side of the draw.”
The NAIT Ooks basketball teams kick off their season the weekend of Oct 18 – 19 with a double-header at home versus the Grande Prairie Wolves.
The women play at 6 p.m. on Friday, and 1 p.m. on Saturday in the NAIT gymnasium. For more info, visit naitooks.com.