For this week's Throwback Thursday, we would like to take a look back at the success of the 1979-80 women's basketball team. Read their season recap below!
Coming together as a group to meet a common goal in sport is what all teams aspire to do. It takes effort, determination, sacrifice and team chemistry. The 1979-80 women’s basketball team achieved these standards and excelled to become an unstoppable unit that worked together to win battles on the court and create a legacy for Dalhousie women’s basketball.
The team was brought together by head coach Dr. Carolyn Savoy in September of 1979. It was a fairly experienced team with members who had played together previously at Dalhousie and on provincial teams. With their talent and experience Coach Savoy was confident from the start of the year that their team would win the AUAA championship.
The team had a few bumps in the road before the season began including a memorable October practice where Coach Savoy stopped the session as she wasn’t convinced that the players were practicing to win. Anne Lindsay, the captain, stepped up and held a meeting to discuss with the team where they wanted to go for the season. When the meeting was over she told Coach Savoy that they were ready to focus and perform. This turning point brought a renewed focus on their strategy towards the common AUAA championship goal.
Towards the end of October the basketball team attended a tournament at Concordia and were ranked third nationally.
Over the winter break the team traveled to Regina and Saskatoon for seven exhibition games. This trip was another turning point for the team because when they returned for the second half of their regular season they had unmistakable confidence at how they matched up with top CIS teams.
With the consensus that they had talent and the attitude that they wanted to win the AUS and CIS championship, the team began to train even harder. They developed hand signals for all their plays since they knew it would be too loud to hear Coach Savoy’s directions at the championship games. They didn’t want to leave anything to chance.
The AUAA season passed quickly, and the Tigers maintained their lead, undefeated in league play. With Dalhousie’s first place finish in league play they earned home court advantage and the conference championship was held at Dalplex in March of 1980. Carried by a wave of intensity the Tigers continued undefeated through the championship and took the AUAA crown after dominating University of New Brunswick 77-53 in the final game.
Confident that she would boast a solid CIAU-contending team, Coach Savoy had bid to host the 1980 national championship the previous year. The Tigers were once again armed with home court advantage at Dalplex.
In the first round at the CIAU championship the Tigers overcame Winnipeg 61-52. Next up they upset Laurentian 55-42, leaving only one team, Victoria, between them and the national title. Victoria was ranked first in Canada that season, a well-earned ranking since the team boasted national and junior national team players including Carol Turney-Loos, the World Championship MVP.
In order to accommodate the number of fans the championship game was moved to the Halifax Metro Centre. Before the final game Coach Savoy spent a few minutes with each starting player pumping them full of confidence and reviewing their role for the game. Everything was in place for an incredible game in front of their home crowd. Dalhousie held the lead up until the last five minutes when it became a seesaw battle. With only a minute to go, Victoria pulled ahead and the final heart-breaking score was 64-59 Victoria.
Three of the CIAU tournament all-stars were awarded to Tigers Anne Lindsay, Anna (Pendergast) Stammberger and Jill Tasker. Team leader Carol Rosenthal was named a second team CIAU all-Canadian while captain Anne Lindsay, who was crucial to the development of team chemistry, earned CIAU first team all-Canadian honours.
An incredible team and an unforgettable year of courage, determination and team spirit left a memorable mark on Dalhousie’s women’s basketball program. Tigers head coach Dr. Savoy says, “This team is one I have always kept in my heart. They were a very special team.”
For their accomplishment of the 1979-80 AUAA Championship and the CIAU silver medal we honour the 1979-80 women’s basketball team by inducting them into Dalhousie’s Sport Hall of Fame.