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Augustana hosts Provincial hoops championships 0

Mark Crown/ Camrose Canadian

The Vikings women’s basketball team got right back to business last weekend with a pair of wins, sweeping the Concordia University College Thunder in a home and home series 71-60 Feb. 8 and 65-55 Feb. 9.

The Vikings women’s basketball team got right back to business last weekend with a pair of wins, sweeping the Concordia University College Thunder in a home and home series 71-60 Feb. 8 and 65-55 Feb. 9.

It’s time to put up or shut up.

With the 2013 ACAC Provincial Women’s Basketball Championships starting this afternoon in Camrose, there is no time like the present for the University of Alberta, Augustana Vikings.

But despite heading into the tournament as the top seed, head coach Leanne Shenton isn’t allowing her girls to get ahead of themselves.

“There are quite a few teams that are playing amazing basketball and a couple of athletes that have been really impressive lately,” she said.

“We just need to make sure we manage all of the mental and physical aspects.”

In fact, with the provincial tournament being played on their home court, one of the factors that could determine success or failure for the Vikings will be their ability to manage their emotions.

“Playing at home has a whole bunch of advantages but it also adds more distractions, so managing that is important,” Shenton said. “We need to stay grounded and try to enjoy the fact that we’re hosting.”

The Vikings now stand three victories away from a provincial championship and will kick off their pursuit for the title tonight against the Concordia University College Thunder at 6 p.m.

The Thunder punched their ticket to the championships last weekend with a strong showing in the wild card qualifiers, defeating the Medicine Hat Rattlers 73-66.

Concordia head coach Ashley MacSporran said her team was out for some payback at the wild cards.

“We looked at this weekend as more of a redemption weekend because we’d lost to all three of the teams that were in the wild card weekend... there wasn’t a whole lot of celebration it was more focus, happy we got it done and on to the next one,” she said.

MacSporran feels her team is playing their best basketball of the season right now and can beat anyone in the league on any given night.

“If I’m Kings or if I’m Augustana I don’t want Olds or Concordia this weekend, I’d rather one of the other higher ranked teams that aren’t playing as well as we are right now,” she said. “When we’re playing really well we match up pretty good against (Augustana).”

For her part Shenton said she is preparing her team for the most competitive basketball of the season and assured the Canadian the Vikings won’t be taking the Concordia lightly Thursday night.

“We need to be ready, it’s playoffs and everybody is going to bring their best,” she said. “Concordia has a really good coach and some great veterans so they’re going to be tough for sure.”

Tickets for the games are available at the door and tournament passes can also be purchased online at acacwomensbasketball.ca.

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