This might be the best chance the Saint Mary's women's basketball team has ever had to win a national championship.

The Huskies open play at the ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS women's basketball Final Eight in Fredericton Thursday afternoon.

Third-ranked Saint Mary's will play sixth-ranked University of Alberta, a team they beat earlier this season.
 
"We played them in the pre-season in a tournament at Dalhousie and had a great game against them and we won in overtime," said Huskies coach Scott Munro. "They're playing better basketball now and we've come a long way too, so it should be a good match-up of two very good basketball teams."

This will mark the fourth straight year Saint Mary's has made it to the national championship tournament and the team has a solid core of veteran players.
 
Their best finish came in 2014 when a team led by All-Canadian guard Justine Colley lost in the final.

The University of Windsor has won the last five national tournaments but they didn't qualify this year.

"Windsor not being here I guess definitely opens it up a little bit, but the field is still very strong and I think any of the teams here have a legitimate shot," said Munro. "Right down the line all the teams are here for a reason, because they're all playing good basketball at this time of year. There won't be any easy games that's for sure."

The Huskies are peaking at the right time. They never lost a game in the second half of the season and were 19-1 in conference play. 

Their only loss came early in the season against UNB, a team they whipped 62-36 in the AUS semi-final. Overall the team is 27-2 in CIS play.

"We managed to start making shots towards the end of February, that and we've been playing great defence all year," said Munro, in his eigth season as Saint Mary's coach. "Hopefully we can keep it rolling this weekend."

Seven players on the Huskies roster played high school basketball in Nova Scotia, including key players Laura Langille (C.P. Allen), Angelina Carvery (Citadel), and Jenny Lewis (Lockview).  

Rachelle Coward is from the Dartmouth area and played at Oak Hill Academy, a prep school in Virginia.