Royals women’s basketball ends drought
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
What a season it’s been for the Douglas College Royals women’s basketball team. From a new head coach, to a new play style, to new stars, nothing about the Royals last year was the same this year. Well, other than their stellar regular season record, but that doesn’t mean too much in the playoffs now, does it.
A second-place finish in the PACWEST gave the team a quarter-final bye, but that isn’t always the best, and it seemed that this time, the Royals got the end of the stick no one really wanted. They met up with the third-seeded VIU Mariners in the semi-finals.
It was guaranteed to be a battle and it was. But from the first quarter, the Royals had the Mariners’ number. Never once conceding the lead, the Royals steamrolled their way through the first half, leading 34–26 at the halftime break. Early in the third, things just got worse for VIU as their star player, Sienna Pollard, was bumped out with an ankle injury. After that, VIU really just couldn’t play ball. The Royals rolled over the Mariners in the third quarter. Sienna Pollard eventually forced her way back on to the court, and with her there, she managed to even up the scoring a bit, at least in the fourth quarter. But the game was too far gone for the Mariners to come back, and the Royals snagged their first win of the tournament, 56–43. Rachel Beauchamp was named Player of the Game after scoring 16 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.
Now poised to make history, the Royals turned to the Camosun Chargers to upset the Capilano Blues. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The Chargers got thumped. So bad, that it may have actually hurt the Royals. Having an opponent come into the next game after a huge win? Scary.
But the Royals weren’t fazed. In fact, they were ready. It’s hard to really stop the Blues’ offence. Everyone can score. So what do you do? You go after the point guard. Early on, the game was a tight one. Both sides traded the lead back and forth. But the real key was Ashley De La Cruz Yip’s performance—or lack thereof. The Royals had her locked down. Blues star Carmelle M’Bikata took a couple early fouls and was forced to sit, and that was that for the first half. Without Yip, no one on the Blues team could get into scoring position.
The Royals stole the lead in the second and held on going into the break. However, coming back was where it stung. The Royals came out determined to get the last nail into the coffin. They almost did too, outscoring the Blues 16–9. But the Blues would not be beat. They sent out everyone in the fourth, and just ran at the Royals. It was a true battle of endurance. The Blues managed to pull the lead to within three, but the Royals, through sheer force of will and a couple of sick layups by Ellen Fallis, managed to hold on to the win, and took the gold medal 70–63.
This is a huge win for them, and the program, as it was the first gold medal in 23 years. Rachel Beauchamp was named the Player of the Game for her huge 15 points and 16 rebounds. But she wasn’t the only Royal acknowledged. Ellen Fallis and Sarah Jorgenson were named Tournament All-Stars, and Rachel Beauchamp was named the Tournament MVP.
The next stop for them? The CCAA National Championships in Alberta, hosted by NAIT. The team plays in two weeks, and you can bet that there’s going to be a lot of training going to be done in the coming weeks.