Basketball opens 2024 with huge wins over Cougars

Women break 16-year losing drought against Regina, while men lead CanWest

Bisons basketball had an impressive start to the 2024 leg of the season, going 3-1 as they hosted the University of Regina Cougars this past weekend.

The women’s team went into the break on an eight-game losing streak only to take on the Cougars in the new year, a team the women’s side of the herd has not won against since the 2007-08 season.

It looked as though the drought would continue, as the herd was walloped in Friday’s game. Managing only eight points compared to Regina’s 23 in the first quarter, the Cougars took a 51-22 lead into halftime.

The most even quarter of the game was the fourth, where Regina registered 15 points while Manitoba scored 14. However, the drought continued and the herd’s losing streak climbed to nine as the Cougars defeated the Bisons 96-49.

The star of the game in the sole weekend loss for the herd was Emily Mandamin, who led the team with 15 points, led in steals and blocks with three of each and made three of the Bisons’ four successful three-point shots on the night.

Emily Johnson led in rebounds with seven, while Emerson Martin recorded the fourth made three-point shot for the Bisons.

However, the herd turned things around in Saturday’s game.

The Bisons came stampeding out of the gates, taking a 23-13 lead in the first quarter and taking a 43-36 lead into halftime.

While Regina won the third quarter, sinking 16 points to the Bisons 14 and pulling within five points of the herd by the end of the third, the Bisons pulled off the victory with a final score of 74-67.

Johnson recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Martin led in points with 25 and rained down threes, making five of her six attempts, while Lauren Bartlett put up 21 points and tied for a team-leading three steals with Mar Tomas Arbos.

The men’s weekend series against the Cougars was just as exciting. While the team entered the new year on a six-game winning streak, the first half of Friday’s game was close.

The herd started off strong, taking a 25-17 lead in the first quarter, but the Cougars fought harder in the second, making 26 points to Manitoba’s 29.

However, the Bisons took a 54-43 lead into halftime and maintained their press in the second half while the Cougars faded. The herd ultimately won 94-65.

Simon Hildebrandt led the herd in points with 23, while Mason Kraus put up 15 and Daren Watts scored 11. Wyatt Tait led in rebounds with seven and Tito Obasoto led in steals with three.

The men’s team completed the sweep in Saturday’s game, but the game was closer than the previous night’s. Regina led 14-13 after the first quarter, but the Bisons picked up some momentum in the second, taking a 39-26 lead into halftime.

The herd carried its momentum into the third quarter, but Regina surged in the fourth, outscoring Manitoba 22-19. However, the Bisons hung on to win 81-61, not only adding to their winning streak but securing the most wins in the West with a 10-2 record.

Watts led the team with a whopping 29 points in Saturday’s game, while Kraus had another double-digit night with 13 and Jonam Kazadi netted 10. Tait once again led in rebounds, surpassing his previous game’s total of nine, and Kraus led in steals with six.

The Bisons basketball teams are on the road Jan. 12 and 13, hosted by the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.