By Steven Chmielash and Patrick L. Smith


Last season, women’s basketball team head coach John MacInnis gave his team the motto of “The Mission,” referring to the team’s goal of winning the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships.

Although the mission was pretty successful, with the team finishing with a gold medal in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Provincial Championships, the team fell short in the nationals, losing two of their three games.

This season, MacInnis is instilling a new motto: “The Journey.” He said the goal of this season is to repeat at provincials but also to make it back to nationals and take home gold.

“It really talks to the fact that the course of the season is your journey and getting to the end of season and hopefully competing for another championship is sort of the end goal,” said MacInnis. “But the season itself is sort of that journey.”

The Algonquin women’s basketball team started the season on the right foot, finishing the exhibition tournament held Oct. 4-6 in Montreal, Que., with a 2-1 record.

On Oct. 6, a quick bounce-back against the Vanier Cheetahs was necessary to forget the previous night’s loss at the hands of the TroisRivières Diablos.

Guard Kim Cupid had an impressive performance last weekend as she was the lead scorer in all three games. Cupid finished Friday’s game against the Champlain Cavaliers with 18 points.

She also amassed 15 points in a losing effort Saturday against the Diablos before rebounding with a 19-point effort in Sunday’s game against the Cheetahs.

Even though some key veterans from last year’s team have left, MacInnis is hoping that third-year University of Ottawa transfer Cupid will add experience and athleticism. Another new addition to the Thunder squad, second-year Carleton transfer and guard Claire Abbott, will add outside shooting and steady defence to an already strong group.

“We’re pretty happy with our group,” he said. “I think we have a lot of talent. We picked up a couple of university transfers which I think is going to make a big difference.

“We have Sandre (Bascoe) back for a fifth year so we’re pretty excited with our group … we have some work to do, but we think we’re going to be right there until the end of the year.”

Team captains Bascoe and third-year guards Jesa Rada and Lindsay Whittaker were voted into the position by the coaches and players alike. According to MacInnis, they were the easy choice and will be counted on the most.

“(They’re) just three solid kids that all bring something different to the table from a leadership point of view,” said MacInnis.

He added that this year’s crop of athletes is probably the deepest he’s had in his previous five years as head coach.

He said that the team has a lot of intriguing pieces and that if they work hard enough and improve every game, they can undoubtedly challenge for another OCAA title.

“We’re trying to go for four in a row and we believe we have the team that can be right there,” he said. “We’re looking to build each day at a time, each practice at a time, each game at a time.”

The Thunder open the season at home versus George Brown College on Oct. 26.