SARNIA, Ontario — In 2018-19, the Dawson Blues are hoping that the third time is the charm.
In each of the last two seasons, the Blues have advanced to the title game at the CCAA Championships. Both times they have fallen just short of the gold medal and have had to settle for a silver. Finishing second in all of Canada is something to be proud of, but one can bet that the Blues had their sights set on the top spot.
With each new year comes a new opportunity for each and every team across the CCAA landscape, including the Blues. They have been one of the top teams in Canada for some time now, so it came as little surprise when they were ranked as the #1 team in the CCAA rankings when the season got started back in October. After six weeks of action, Dawson College has proven why many consider the team to beat in the country.
At the holiday break, the Blues are still the top-ranked team in the country and they have no plans on relinquishing that spot any time soon.
Anything can happen on any given day in collegiate basketball. For a team to weather the storm and maintain their top ranking throughout the fall semester is something to talk about. While teams in the RSEQ play a shorter schedule than that of other teams in Canada, there’s no taking away what the Blues have accomplished through their first six games.
Dawson College closed out the fall semester with a perfect 6-0 record to maintain their stronghold on the top ranking. They are the only undefeated team in the RSEQ, and they can thank strong play on both ends of the court for their hot start.
On offense, the Blues are averaging a league-high 79.8 points per contest. Their average is 10.4 points per game higher than both the Nomades de Montmorency and Dynamiques de Sainte-Foy who are averaging 69.4 points per contest. In terms of scoring defense, Dawson College ranks second by holding their opponents to an average of 54.5 points per game. They trail only Sainte-Foy (49.8 ppg) in that category.
When you consider both figures, the Blues have an average scoring margin of +25.3 points per game.
Dawson College deploys a balanced offensive unit that features four of the top 10 scorers in the league, three of whom are in just their second years of eligibility in 2018-19. Leading the way is Roxane Makolo who ranks inside the top seven in the RSEQ in the four main statistical categories. This season, Makolo is averaging 14.8 points (5th), 8.3 rebounds (7th), 3.3 assists (3rd), and 2.7 steals (7th) per game.
Not to be outdone, second-year forward Mackenzie Ash-Smith is having herself quite the year on both ends of the court. Through six games, Ash-Smith is averaging a double-double of 14.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest. The 6’0” forward gives the Blues size in the paint and around the basket, and she is highly effective on both ends of the floor on the glass.
When you add in the pair of second-year Taisha Exanor (12.5 ppg, 0.8 bpg) and third-year Dahomme Forgues (12.7 ppg), the Blues have a core group that can contend with the best of the best across the CCAA.
At 6-0, the Blues have passed each test put in front of them this season. However, they haven’t faced their toughest test as of yet. Dawson College will face Sainte-Foy on two occasions in the second half of the season, one each is January and February. With the top two scoring defenses and two of the top three scoring offenses on the same court, something will have to give when the Dynamiques and Blues square off.
Circle January 27th and February 15th on your calendars. The first meeting will be at Dawson College, while the February showdown will be hosted by Sainte-Foy.
In each of the last two seasons, the Dawson College Blues have been knocking on the door of a CCAA Championship, only to have their knocks go unanswered in the title game. Their last national championship came back in 1986, their second of back-to-back titles. In 2018-19, the Blues will hope to end their title drought and secure another CCAA Championship.
- T. Bennett