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UBC women's basketball games are more thrilling than men's

Image courtesy of UBC Thunderbirds

Lying on my back in a loft in Colorado last Christmas, I was in a foul mood. Across from me, my younger cousins were playing a card game. Occasionally, I'd open my eyes, but mostly I just silently lay there, drifting in and out of sleep.

While I was awake, short seemingly-unconnected moments from the past four months replayed themselves in my head.

Here's one such clip: After the men's basketball team beat the University of Alberta, I approached the Golden Bear's coach. I wanted to briefly talk to this first-year coach who had a few exciting rookies on his team. We chatted. The thought ended.

I was probably about to fall asleep again, but a question came to mind: Didn't Anneka Bakker go to U of A?

Yes, she did.

And U of A played at War Mem in November, correct?

Well, obviously: I interviewed the men's coach.

Shit! I missed a chance to see Bakker, who I went to high school with, play.

Frustrated that I'd missed a chance to see Bakker play, I decided I'd attend one women's game in Janurary, after religiously following the men's team for one-and-a-half seasons.

Now, I forget what happened in the first game I attended, but I enjoyed myself. There are a lot of differences between the men's and women's team that my curious mind found interesting.

Men dunk. Women don't.

The women aren't as beastly as the men, but they do also drop F-bombs on the court.  

I've heard one or two apologize during a game for an errand pass. I can't say the same for the men.

The women stand up each time a teammate gets subbed off to high-five. Brent Malish of the men's barely high-fives the two teammates on the bench he's sitting next to when he's subbed off.

The women's coach, Deb Huband, is not very entertaining to watch. Yet once in a while, she'll pat the chair next to her to indicate to the player she just subbed off she'd like to chat. "The pat" always puts a smile on my face. Her men's counterpart, Kevin Hanson, on the other hand, has a much more lively and emotional coaching style - which adds a lot to the game.

But there's one main reason I enjoy watching the women's team: their games are often closer than the men's, because of parity. Perhaps my biggest complaint about the men's team is that they win every game.

Here's an example. Last February, the University of Victoria played UBC twice at War Memorial Gym. The women lost their Friday night match by a point. The men won by six points (they were not outscored in the last three quarters of the game).

Saturday night, the women were up 30-21 by half-time, but in the second half, UVic managed to take the lead. The final quarter was marked by a dogged effort by both teams to secure the lead in the final minute. With 45 seconds to go, the game was still tied. UBC's Lia St. Pierre took a jumper. Miss. UVic rebounded and marched up court. UVic secured the game with a basket from CIS-SIC player of the year, Kayla Dykstra. Again, the women lost in the final minutes.

The men opened up their Saturday night contest by taking a 30-2 lead by the first quarter’s end.

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