CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director / Photos Paul Yates, Vancouver Sports Pictures
With two wins on their final weekend of the regular season, the Capilano Blues women’s basketball team capped off a strong 16-2 regular season that places them atop the PACWEST standings and gives them a first-round bye at next weekend’s provincials.
After a 13-0 start to the season, Cap hit a bit of a lull and dropped a pair of games at the beginning of February, but a strong effort this past weekend puts the Blues back on the right foot heading into the playoffs and guarantees them some much-needed rest.
On Friday night at Langara College, Capilano got off to a quick start against the Vancouver rivals – going up 18-8 after one quarter and pushing their lead to 16 by half. Langara made a run out of the break and briefly cut the lead down the single digits, but Cap clamped down and outscored the Falcons in the final period to secure a 63-52 victory.
It was a milestone night for Carmelle M’Bikata, as with her ninth point of the evening she tallied her 882nd career point for the Blues and became the new career scoring leader for Capilano women’s basketball. She passed her former teammate Michelle Errico, who graduated last year with 881 points accumulated over four seasons. A forward from WJ Mouat Secondary in Abbotsford, M’Bikata is in her fourth year at Capilano, and has developed into one of the best players in the conference.
M’Bikata finished with a double-double in the contest with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Karyn Nelson racked up 14 boards – seven apiece on the offensive and defensive ends – and Sherrie Errico drained five three-pointers on her way to 20 points.
Capilano travelled up to Squamish the following evening to take on the Quest University Kermodes, and by the time the dust settled the Blues had jumped out a 32-11 lead. Quest hung tough over the rest of the way, but the lead proved insurmountable and the Blues finished off the season with a 77-68 win.
M’Bikata capped off her weekend with 24 points – aided by a 10-off-11 performance from the free throw line – and nine rebounds, while Nelson was once again dominant on the boards with 13 rebounds. Errico hit double-figures again with 13 points, while Brittany Wertman hit four 3s and scored 14. Ashley De La Cruz Yip was again effective on both ends of the floor, scoring 11 points while adding six assists and three steals.
In addition to finishing at the top of the PACWEST standings, Capilano ends the season at the top of most team statistical categories: points per game (70.6), points allowed (51.1), field goal percentage (38.4%), 3-pointers made (7.8), 3-point percentage (30.8%), assists per game (15.4), and opponents’ 3-point percentage (19.9%).
Several Blues players finished on the conference leaderboard as well, including two sitting at the top. M’Bikata finished as the PACWEST scoring champ, with her strong weekend pushing her points per game average up to 15.78. A fourth-year forward from WJ Mouat Secondary in Abbotsford, her 56.3% field goal percentage is also the third-best mark in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAA).
Errico (6th, 13.06/game) and Reiko Ohama (10th, 10.35) also finished in the top 10 in scoring, with Errico also posting the top 3-point percentage in the conference at 40.6 percent.
In the assist category, De La Cruz Yip blew the rest of the league out of the water. She racked up 102 total helpers for a per game average of 5.67 that is more than two full assists better than the second-best ratio, and is also the second-highest total in the CCAA. The fourth-year point guard from Britannia Secondary also finishes the season as the new record-holder for most career assists in Capilano women’s basketball history (257, 3.29/game).
Ohama, a second-year guard from Kamloops, also finished on the assists leaderboard, with her 2.35 average the 10th best in the league.
In the rebounding category, both M’Bikata and Nelson used their strong weekends to move up the leaderboard. M’Bikata ended up in sixth at 7.33, while Nelson, a Carson Graham Secondary grad, was close behind in eighth at 6.50. Both forwards are now in the top-5 in career rebounds at Capilano.
The Blues have a week of preparation before their postseason gets underway at Quest University. Their first match will be in the semifinals on Friday, March 3 at 6:00pm, and they’ll face the winner of the #4 Camosun College and #5 Quest University game.