It has been quite the 2015 for the men’s basketball program. After winning the AUS championship last season, Coach Plato’s team has showed no signs of a championship hangover. The boys opened up the 2015-2016 campaign 12-1 including the pre-season and are currently 5-2 in AUS regular season play.
In Plato’s third year at the helm of program, it seems as though the pieces are in place and the players are really buying into the defensive, team-oriented system. The roster is one of the deepest we have seen in the AUS as Plato has subbed in five man rotations at a time in key situations.
Just seven games into a 20 game AUS season, the Tigers hold a record of 5-2 and sit in a four-way tie for first place with UPEI, Cape Breton, and Acadia heading into the holiday break.
Last season the Tigers had the advantage of being the under dogs taking the AUS by surprise, winning three comeback games to take the title. This season there is no such luxury as the first ever pre-season coach’s poll puts the Tigers finishing second behind the Saint Mary’s Huskies.
The Tigers offence all starts with Ritchie Kanza Mata who leads the team with 5.2 assists and 31.4 minutes a game of floor time. On a team that scores by committee, Kanza Mata has plenty of weapons to utilize.
Kashrell Lawrence, Sven Stammberger and Jarred Reid are the driving offensive forces for the Tigers, averaging 15.6, 13.3 and 9.9 points per game.
After sweeping two back-to-back home series against the Memorial Sea-Hawks and the UNB Varsity Reds to start the season 4-0, the Tigers ran into a bit of a rough patch dropping their next two contests.
Saint Mary’s ran the Tigers out of the gym laying down a 77-58 defeat. Sloppy mistakes cost the Tigers, as the Huskies converted 21 points off turnovers.
Later that week, the Acadia Axemen beat the Tigers in dramatic fashion scoring a last-second layup to take the contest 85-83. Dalhousie has managed to right the ship winning their final game before the Christmas break 74-57 over the StFX X-Men.
Dalhousie will be back in action January 1 when they kick-off the Shoveller Memorial Tournament at Dalplex.
It is a transition year for the women’s basketball team with a roster featuring six fresh faces. The Tigers graduated Courtney Thompson, the second best scorer in the CIS last season, as well as some other notable starters. Expectations were low coming into the 2015-2016 AUS season, but the Tigers have already managed to exceed them.
In the first annual pre-season coaches poll the Tigers were predicted to finish dead last with just 10 points in 20 regular season games. Just seven games into the season, Dalhousie sits fifth in the AUS with six points and a 3-4 record.
The Tigers came out of the gate red-hot starting the season 3-1, downing Memorial twice and splitting a two-game set with the UNB Varsity Reds. Since then, the Tigers have cooled down dropping three in a row to close out the 2015 calendar year.
The three-time reigning AUS champion Saint Mary’s Huskies gave the Tigers their second loss of the season in an ugly 61-38 contest. The Huskies blew out Dalhousie in the second quarter 18-2 and the Tigers would never recover.
Since that tough loss, the ladies have given themselves every chance to win when they step on the court. In a crucial four-point game against the Acadia, the Axewomen just edged out the Tigers, 67-66.
On the following weekend, StFX held off a late Tigers rally to win 69-61.
Success for the Tigers revolves around the play of AUS all-star Tessa Stammberger, who leads the team in just about every statistical category including points, rebounds, assists, steals and 3 point shooting. Stammberger is logging an impressive 37.1 minutes a game and really does it all for the Tigers.
Stammberger has received some solid secondary offence from Ainsley MacIntyre and Sophie Gaube, which has attributed to the Tigers early success.
MacIntyre’s increased production has been essential to the Tigers ability to win. She is nearly doubling her 2014-2015 numbers. MacIntyre averaged 2.9 rebounds per game and 6.5 points per game last season compared to this season where she is averaging 4.4 rebounds a game and 10.1 points per game.
First year guard Sophie Gaube has been a nice addition to the Tigers starting lineup, chipping in 6.6 points per game and 1.4 assists.
Dalhousie will resume action after the Christmas break on January 6 when they host the Saint Mary’s Huskies.