CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director
After finishing the regular season atop the conference standings and winning silver at the PACWEST Provincials for the second-straight season, the Capilano Blues women’s basketball team is excited to announce the addition of six new players as part of their 2017-18 recruiting class.
Going into his sixth year at the helm of the Blues, head coach Ramin Sadaghiani has brought in four guards and two forwards to round out a roster that returns the majority of last year’s squad and looks poised to once again be a force in the PACWEST.
"When recruiting athletes, we look for individuals that not only have the potential to help us win games on the court but also demonstrate very high standards off the court as they will be representing our women’s basketball program, our athletics department and our entire university in the community,” said Sadaghiani. “Emma, Mackenzie, Simrat, Georgia, Nancy and Danya exemplify all of these traits so we could not be happier to have them join our Blues family. Our program’s future is in good hands for many years to come."
A transfer from Camosun College, Emma Cunningham was named to the PACWEST All-Rookie team back in 2014, and two seasons ago she ranked on the conference leaderboard for both rebounds and assists. A high school graduate of Spectrum High School in Victoria, Cunningham was a AAA Islands First-Team All-Star in 2013 and an All-Star at Victoria’s annual Police Basketball Tournament in 2012 and 2013, and Sadaghiani expects her to be one of the best shooters in the league.
“Since I am entering my last years of eligibility, it is more about the overall experience and memories I want to take with me,” said Cunningham. “I’ve always noticed and admired the family-like atmosphere amongst the entire Blues organization and the mutual respect between the coaches and players. Living on the island my entire life, I am looking forward to a new chapter on the mainland.”
A 5-foot-11 guard/forward from Kamloops, Danya Lincoln heads to Capilano after a season with the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack of U SPORTS (formerly CIS). A graduate of South Kamloops Secondary School, Lincoln played in the Okanagan All-Star game in 2015 and 2016, and is also heading to Capilano to enroll in the school’s prestigious film program.
A 5-foot-5 point guard from Surrey’s Panorama Ridge in Surrey, Simrat Dosanjh recently led her team to 4th place at the ‘AAA’ BC Provincials, where she also was a Second Team All-Star. Earlier in her high school career she also won two Provincial titles and two Surrey Championships with the Thunder – being named an All-Star and Player of the Game several times along the way. Sadaghiani describes her as a very smart player, and believes she could be one of the top rookie recruits in the PACWEST.
“Capilano offers me the opportunity to pursue Human Kinetics, my academic goal. Also, Cap has a tremendous basketball program giving me the best chance to play at a competitive level,” said Dosanjh. “It provides the perfect transition between high school and university basketball by playing at the college level; furthermore, academically the classroom sizes at Cap are smaller, giving me the opportunity to interact with my professors at a more personal level. Cap provides me with a better chance to play more minutes in my first year and gives me a bigger role on a university-level team earlier in my career.”
A 6-foot-3 post from Burnaby’s Cariboo Hill Secondary, Mackenzie Smith will be the tallest player on the Blues next season, and Sadaghiani sees plenty of upside for the young forward. Also a member of the 3D Basketball Academy, Smith is an all-around athlete, winning soccer’s BC Coastal Cup and Provincials three times with her lacrosse team.
“I chose Capilano University because it has a great basketball program as well as great academic standing,” said Smith. “The programs offered suit my future career goal, and from what I have heard from the women currently on the team the school attempts to support its athletes in any way it can.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to come proudly represent Capilano University on a weekly basis and to continue all the good that the basketball team does on and off the court.”
Georgia Nelson comes to Capilano on the heels of her sister, Karyn, completing a successful four-year career with the Blues. A North Vancouver native who attends Carson Graham Secondary, Nelson participated in the 3D Basketball Academy, and Sadaghiani calls her one of the best three-point shooters on the North Shore. In 2016 the 5-foot-8 shooting guard also received the Quinn Keast Scholarship at the annual No Regrets Basketball Tournament (formerly North Shore Invitational).
“I chose Cap because for the four years that I watched my sister play, it inspired me to pursue basketball after high school,” said Nelson. “When I came for a visit I felt very welcomed by the team, and it’s close to home which is a bonus!”
Nancy Emma only started playing basketball in grade 10, but Sadaghiani is impressed by her athleticism and fully believes that she’s ready to play at the University level. A 5-foot-9 forward from Dr. Charles Best Secondary in Coquitlam, Emma has made great strides over the last couple years and is excited about the opportunity to progress with the Blues.
“I wanted to come to CapU because the first time coming to the school I really felt like I belonged for some reason,” said Emma. “I watched a few introduction videos about the school and it looked very welcoming. Also can’t wait ‘til I get to play with the team … I watched a few of them on TV when they were broadcasted, [and] I really enjoyed watching how the team played; they had great chemistry with each other and I could tell they really trusted one another.”