Cougars win first basketball championship

Heather Dedman scored 24 points as the Regina Cougars won their first Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union women's basketball championship Sunday with a 94-85 victory over the Alberta Bears.

Regina went on an 11-0 run in the first quarter and led 50-39 at halftime. The Cougars stretched the lead to as much as 15 points in the second half.

The Pandas trimmed the deficit to six with 11:17 to play, but Regina's Bree Burgess hit a three-pointer to increase the lead to nine.

Alberta was within six again with less than a minute to play, but Dedman hit six consecutive foul shots and Crystal Heisler and Cymone Bouchard added two each to seal the victory.

Regina finished 33-for-42 from the foul line. Alberta went 18-for-27.

"I'm very proud of my team," said Regina coach Christine Stapleton. "Right after last year's tournament, I started pushing the players to take responsibility for following the game plan."

Not that plans were followed perfectly.

"We lost a lot of their people (defensively) in transition," said Stapleton. "We were beaten in a lot of areas.

"We won because of our heart."

Becky Poley added 14 points for Regina, Phoebe DeCiman had 13, Corrin Wersta 12, Bree Burgess 11, Bouchard and Heisler 10 each.

Cathy Butlin led the Pandas with a 30 points in the final game of her CIAU career.

Diane Smith added 16 points, while Christine Shewchuk and April Kanderka had 12 each.

"We didn't quit, even when we got behind," said Alberta coach Don Horwood. "Regina is a tough team.

"They scored a lot of their points in the transition game. We kept thinking they might miss a shot or two, but their performance was tremendous. They got points from everybody."

Bouchard was named tournament MVP.

Other all-stars were Dedman, Butlin, Leighann Doan of Calgary and Jacqueline Beaudoin of Queen's.