SARNIA, Ontario — Through three weeks of league play, the top contenders in the ACAC have started to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
In the latest edition of the CCAA Top 15 rankings, three teams from the conference are ranked inside the top nine teams in Canada. The 4-0 Medicine Hat Rattlers come in at #4, while the 5-1 Olds College Broncos are in the seventh spot. Rounding out the group is the Augustana Vikings, who sit atop the ACAC North Division with a 7-1 record, find themselves ranked ninth in this week’s rankings.
The season is still young, but those three teams have begun to assert their dominance and separate themselves from the rest of the conference.
This past week saw several teams try to keep pace with the teams at the top of the standings. Olds College picked up a pair of wins to maintain their top spot in the South Division while the Rattlers had their off-week, thanks in large part to their star forward who dropped back-to-back 31-point performances. One team picked up their first win of the season, while another top contender picked up a win in their only contest to take another step towards the top of the South Division standings.
Across the conference, five players stood out among the rest in terms of individual stat lines, and these five student-athletes make up this week’s Starting Five in the ACAC.
Starting Five: Oct. 29 – Nov. 4, 2018
Brittney Thibeaux – Olds College Broncos
31 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 blocks in 113-63 win vs. Briercrest
31 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 blocks in 81-73 win at Lethbridge
If you aren’t familiar with Brittney Thibeaux by now, you’ve been missing out. The fourth-year forward from Lake Villa, IL is one of the top forwards in all of Canada, let alone the ACAC, and she continually puts up big numbers for the Olds College Broncos, the 7th-ranked team in the latest CCAA rankings. This past week, Thibeaux and the Broncos extended their winning streak to five games with a pair of wins, and Thibeaux is now averaging 26.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. At 5-1, the Broncos are one of the top teams in the ACAC, and Thibeaux has been leading the way all season long.
This past week saw the Broncos take on the Briercrest College Clippers at home to start the week before heading on the road for a contest with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks to cap it off. Against the Clippers, Thibeaux went for 31 points, six rebounds, two assists, and five blocks as the Broncos rolled to the 50-point win, 113-63. Then, against the Kodiaks, she posted an almost identical stat line while guiding the Broncos to the 81-73 win. Thibeaux went for 31 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and five blocks to help extend the winning streak to five games for Olds after a loss in their regular season opener.
For the week, Thibeaux averaged 31.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 5.0 blocks for the Broncos, further cementing her status as one of the top front-court players in all of Canada.
Mel Woolley – SAIT Trojans
13 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, 1 block in 53-41 win vs. Ambrose
As we said in our season preview of the SAIT Trojans before the season began, a player like Mel Woolley is one that any coach would want to have on their team. She is the type of player who will do whatever it takes on both ends of the court to help her team win. From taking charges against players much bigger than her to diving for loose balls no matter the score, Woolley isn’t afraid to put her body on the line to help her team come away with a win. Those plays won’t show up in the box score, but she can also stuff the stat sheet on any given night, and she did just that against the Ambrose Lions this past week.
SAIT only had one game last week as they played host to the Lions. Behind a strong defensive presence, the Trojans held down their home court and picked up a 53-41 victory over Ambrose. Woolley made her presence felt on both ends of the court, recording 13 points, six rebounds, five assists, five steals, and one block. The fifth-year guard from Sturgeon County, AB is now averaging 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this season.
Lacey Weddle – CUE Thunder
17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals in 74-54 loss at Lakeland
15 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in 62-51 win vs. Lakeland
Lacey Weddle and the CUE Thunder had a home-and-home series with the Lakeland College Rustlers this past week, and the Thunder came into the week looking to improve on their 2-2 start to the season. The Thunder have split their first two weekends with both the Augustana Vikings and Keyano College Huskies, but were looking to grab two wins against the Rustlers to keep pace in the ACAC North Division standings. Instead, for the third week in a row, Weddle and the Thunder split their two games over the weekend to remain at .500 for the season at 3-3.
Weddle and the Thunder were on the road to start the home-and-home series with the Rustlers, and they came out on the losing end, 74-54. Weddle posted 17 points, three rebounds, three assists, and four steals for a solid two-way performance. From there, CUE returned home and they reversed their fortunes from game one, picking up a 62-51 win to get back to the .500 mark on the year. In the win, Weddle posted 15 points, four rebounds, and one assist to help the Thunder earn the split.
For the week, Weddle averaged 16.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.5 steals per contest.
Kariya Bruised Head – Ambrose Lions
2 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks in 53-41 loss at SAIT
17 points, 19 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals in 61-55 win vs. St. Mary’s University
The Ambrose Lions may have earned a split over the past week between their games with SAIT and the St. Mary’s University Lightning, but Kariya Bruised Head continued her strong play on the glass this season with a pair of double-digit rebounding games. The third-year forward is now second on the team in rebounding, averaging 9.8 rebounds per contest. Bruised Head struggled on offense against SAIT in the Lions’ first game of the week, but we bounced back and recorded her first double-double against the Lightning to cap off the week.
Against the Trojans, the Lions couldn’t find their groove on offense and fell to the Trojans on the road, 53-41. In the loss, Bruised Head recorded just two points on offense, but she added 15 rebounds, two assists, four steals, and three blocks for significant contributions in other facets. To close the week, the Lions returned home and picked up a 61-55 win over the visiting Lightning. Bruised Head recorded her first double-double of the year, posting 17 points and 19 rebounds to go along with three steals.
For the week, Bruised Head averaged 9.5 points, 17.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game while Ambrose posted a 1-1 record.
Adrianna Beck – Briercrest College Clippers
15 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals in 113-63 loss at Olds
29 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal in 77-69 win at Red Deer
Quietly, Briercrest guard Adrianna Beck has emerged as one of the top scorers in the ACAC, yet the attention level hasn’t been there for the fourth-year guard from Omaha, Nebraska. Beck currently ranks fourth in the ACAC in scoring, averaging 20.4 points per game. She is one of just four players in the conference averaging more than 20 points per contest to this point in the year. This past week, the Clippers were on the road for a pair of games, and they were looking to pick up their first win of the season in the process. After a blowout loss in their opener, the Clippers got into the win column to close out their week.
Briercrest opened the week with a contest against the high-powered offense of the Olds College Broncos. Beck went for 15 points, one rebound, and two steals on the night, but the Broncos rolled past the Clippers, 113-63. From there, the Clippers closed their week with a contest against the Red Deer Queens. Beck led the way on both ends of the floor, posting 29 points, five rebounds, and seven assists to guide Briercrest to the 77-69 win, their first victory of the season. The Clippers now sit at 1-4 on the young season.
For the week, Beck averaged 22.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game over the Clippers’ two games.
– T. Bennett