THUNDER BAY – The Lakehead University men’s and women’s basketball teams will play their first home games of the season, beginning Friday evening at 6:00 pm for the women, and 8:00 pm for the men versus the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. They will rematch on Saturday evening with the same tip-off times.
Friday will be a momentous evening for Thunderwolves fans, as they will be treated to their first OUA men’s basketball banner raising and Wilson Cup presentation in the Thunderdome. The men’s team is carrying 16 players this season, five of whom are natural freshmen and seven are 4th year seniors. Freshmen Michael Thorne Finch and Alex Robichaud will not dress due to injuries.
The Winnipeg Wesmen are coached by Mike Raimbault, who enters his 2nd year with Winnipeg after winning a CCAA national championship (and coach of the year honors) with UNBC. He also took the Brandon Bobcats to the 2007-08 CIS Final 8 with a 20-2 regular season record. Winnipeg 4th year forward Benny Iko attended the same school (Howard) as Lakehead forward Joseph Jones prior to joining the CIS. Winnipeg’s roster boasts four 5th year seniors.
LU Coach Scott Morrison shares; “We are excited to finally match-up with a different colour jersey and try to gauge our pre-season development against a non-conference opponent. I am looking for our core of seniors to step up and show our younger players the type of game prep and focus required to be successful at the CIS level. Winnipeg is a well coached team on the rise and present a number of tough match-ups for us to contain at this early stage of the season.”
The Lakehead women are coming off a pair of wins over the University of Manitoba Bisons this past weekend in Dryden. The first of these was an overtime win, 93-87, and the other a 5 point victory the following day. Lindsay Dreury showed veteran leadership during those wins, scoring 26 and 32 points, but also getting help from Thunder Bay point guard Katie Ulakovic, whose hard work in the off-season has already shown dividends, as she scored 6 points in the first game’s overtime for a total of 16.
Winnipeg took two games from the Thunderwolves last season, including a 89-61 thrashing at LU’s home tournament, an outing coach Jon Kreiner’s squad would surely like to avenge. He looks to build on his team’s offensive success and crank up the D this weekend, “We had 2 high scoring wins last weekend against Manitoba. We are looking to improve defensively and will have a tough match-up against Amy Ogidan. Winnipeg will be looking to create offense by forcing turnovers. The tempo should be quick and the games exciting. Thunderdome fans will be treated to 2 great games by 2 hard working teams”.
Don’t be disappointed! Advance pre-sale tickets for these games are sold out. Tickets will be available at the gate beginning at 5:30 pm, prior to the women’s game Friday. Tickets Prices: Adults – $8.00; Students & Seniors – $5.00; Children under 10 – free admission.
The games on Saturday will serve as a finale event to the Lakehead Athletics Homecoming Weekend (Sept 30-Oct 1). This year’s Wall of Fame inductees will be presented to the crowd at halftime of the men’s game on Saturday evening. The C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse will host the John Zanatta Memorial Alumni Games beginning at 12:45 Saturday afternoon and the Wall of Fame Induction Ceremony in the Hangar which begins at 11:15 am. There will also be a beer garden in the Hangar from 2 to 6 pm. For a full weekend itinerary, visit www.thunderwolves.ca/walloffame