For the Women’s Basketball team, this weekend was a special one and especially so for three young ladies, as they would be playing their final game on the Thunder home court. Lindsay Piper, Nakita Newman and Ann Stewart will be moving on next year and the team, coaches and athletics staff appreciate all they have done and accomplished in their Thunder jerseys. “This was a special weekend for everyone. For these three ladies, the relationships they have built with their teammates, coaches and students at our institution is something they will never forget,” stated Coach Valpreda. But before their celebrations were to be put in place, the Thunder took on a hungry and energetic Vikings team in Camrose, knowing that the Vikings were fighting for the last playoff spot in the North. “We had an excellent week of practice and we prepared for them as best we could. We know what the Vikings do well and we tried to take those things away from them.” That they did, as the Thunder jumped out to an early 22-9 lead after the first quarter. Concordia kept their foot on the pedal and continued to play excellent basketball taking a 48-28 lead into halftime. “At this point in the season it’s all about being great for the full forty-minutes, to continue to get better going into the post-season.” One of those players who led the charge was 3rd year player Lacey Weddle. Lacey played tremendous defense and on the offensive end, made some great shots and assisted her fellow players also for easy buckets. The Thunder took the W with a 84-66 victory. “We talked about playing hard for each other tonight, working hard to get open to create easy shots. This is a really tough gym to play in and we just put up 84 points so I would say we worked pretty dang hard,” opined Valpreda. Congratulations to Player of the Game Lacey Weddle.
Saturday evening the Thunder were back at the RKAC for their final home game of the season. “You could tell that emotions were running high but in a positive way, as the Thunder would recognize those individuals moving on. As the game started, the Thunder were not quite as sharp as the night before. “They had more on their minds and knew what tonight meant for everyone. We seemed a bit flustered to start. We weren’t ready to go right off the bat. We had such a great performance the night before and we have to try to be more consistent as we move forward.” Eventually the Thunder would settle down and start to control the game, going into halftime with a 39-27 advantage. In the second half, the Thunder were exceptional on defense holding the Vikings to just 2 points in the third quarter. “Defense is something we can always control. We can hustle, rebound and defend.” The Thunder did that and those defensive hustle plays would create easy baskets on the offensive end with the Thunder taking the 69-37 win. The Player of the Game was Lindsay Piper.
“Tonight was more about Lindsay, Nakita and Ann. They are all exceptional student athletes and have all helped to build this program to what it is today. Lindsay has been with the program since the beginning through the rough times and stuck with it to see the success. Ann was given another chance to continue her studies and basketball here at Concordia. She never gave up and continued to work hard on and off the court being selected last season as a CCAA Academic All-Canadian. Finally, Nakita Newman with her leadership and experience is what this team needed to find success. She always provided her teammates with feedback for them to understand what it takes to win. That knowledge, along with her hard work and effort on and off the court have made her an invaluable teammate. Thank you to these three young ladies. Thank you for allowing me to have coached you and see you grow in your time at Concordia”.