OTTAWA (CIS) – For the first time in program history, the McGill University Martlets have earned the top seed for the ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS women's basketball championship.
The seeding was announced Sunday for the Final Eight, hosted by the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. The tournament gets under way Thursday at the Richard J. Currie Center and culminates next Sunday at 1 p.m. Atlantic Time (noon Eastern) with the national final, live on Sportsnet 360. Saturday's semifinals are live on Sportsnet ONE (noon & 2:30 p.m. Atlantic) and all 11 games from the competition will also be webcast on www.CIS-SIC.tv.
Rounding out the draw behind the reigning five-time RSEQ champion Martlets are the No. 2 Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West champs), No. 3 Saint Mary's Huskies (AUS champs), No. 4 Regina Cougars (Canada West finalists), No. 5 Ryerson Rams (OUA champs), No. 6 Alberta Pandas (Canada West bronze medallists), No. 7 Ottawa Gee-Gees (OUA finalists) and No. 8 UNB Varsity Reds (hosts).
Thursday's quarter-final matchups include Ottawa vs. Saskatchewan in the 1 p.m. opener, followed by Alberta vs. Saint Mary's at 3 p.m., host UNB vs. McGill at 6 p.m., as well as Ryerson vs. Regina at 8 p.m.
New CIS champions will be crowned next weekend as Windsor's quest for a record sixth straight Bronze Baby Trophy title came to an end on Friday night when the Lancers fell to Ryerson in the OUA semis.
Top-seeded McGill hopes to claim its first Bronze Baby after reaching the CIS championship final for the first time a year ago in Quebec City. The Martlets, who topped each of the last three national coaches' polls of the season, were a logical choice for No. 1 status after finishing atop the RSEQ standings with a stellar 15-1 mark before capturing their fifth straight Quebec banner.
For the third year in a row, Alberta received the at-large berth (wildcard) following a vote by a committee of CIS coaches. The Pandas, who claimed Canada West bronze after going 17-3 in conference play, were ranked in all 13 weekly polls in 2015-16, including a No. 7 ranking in each of the last two polls.
Only two of this week's contenders have hoisted the Bronze Baby in the past. Alberta triumphed in 1999, while Regina was crowned two years later.
NOTES: All Wednesday practices at the Richard J. Currie Center are open to the media, starting at 9 a.m. ... A complete championship preview will follow on Tuesday... The All-Canadian Awards Celebration is set for Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. at The Playhouse and will be webcast live at www.CIS-SIC.tv.
1. McGill Martlets (RSEQ champions: 15-1 regular season / 2-0 playoffs)
2. Saskatchewan Huskies (CWUAA champions: 18-2 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)
3. Saint Mary's Huskies (AUS champions: 19-1 regular season / 2-0 playoffs)
4. Regina Cougars (CWUAA finalists: 17-3 regular season / 3-1 playoffs)
5. Ryerson Rams (OUA champions: 16-3 regular season / 3-0 playoffs)
6. Alberta Pandas (At-Large Berth: 17-3 regular season / 3-1 playoffs)
7. Ottawa Gee-Gees (OUA finalists: 17-2 regular season / 2-1 playoffs)
8. UNB Varsity Reds (Hosts: 12-8 regular season / 1-1 playoffs)
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times ATLANTIC)
Wednesday, March 16
9:00-17:00 Practices OPEN TO MEDIA (Richard J. Currie Center)
18:45 All-Canadian Awards Celebration (The Playhouse) (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Thursday, March 17
13:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 7 Ottawa vs. No. 2 Saskatchewan (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 6 Alberta vs. No. 3 Saint Mary's (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 8 UNB vs. No. 1 McGill (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 5 Ryerson vs. No. 4 Regina (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Friday, March 18
18:00 Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Saturday, March 19
12:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
14:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
17:00 5th-place game (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Sunday, March 20
10:00 Bronze (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
13:00 Final (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
* Webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis.