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No. 1 Lancers aim for rare Bronze Baby three-peat

All eyes will be on the University of Windsor Lancers this weekend in Regina as the reigning two-time Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s basketball champions will look to become only the fourth team in history to claim the Bronze Baby Trophy for a third consecutive year.

The CIS women’s hoops championship gets underway Friday at the University of Regina and concludes Sunday at 4 p.m. local time (6 p.m. ET) with the gold-medal final, live on The Score Television Network.

All 11 games from the competition will also be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv.

In addition to the top-seeded and Ontario University Athletics champion Lancers, the teams still in the running for the 2013 Bronze Baby Trophy are the Saint Mary’s Huskies, tournament host Regina Cougars, Carleton Ravens, Calgary Dinos, McGill Martlets, Fraser Valley Cascades and Ottawa Gee-Gees.

Friday’s schedule sees Windsor kicking off its title defence against Ottawa in the tourney opener at 1 p.m., Calgary facing Carleton at 3 p.m., McGill battling host Regina at 6:30 p.m., and Fraser Valley taking on Saint Mary’s at 8:30 p.m. All times listed are Regina time; add two hours to convert to Windsor time.

To say the Lancers are red hot going into the Final Eight might be an understatement. Since suffering back-to-back defeats at the Concordia Tournament in Montreal during the holiday break, including an embarrassing 72-41 loss to Carleton on December 30, the defending national champions have racked up 17 straight wins, including a 56-51 victory over the Ravens in last Saturday’s OUA final.

Windsor is back at the CIS tourney with most of its formidable lineup from a year ago. Leading the way are Jessica Clemençon, a 6-foot-3 forward from France, and Miah-Marie Langlois, a 5-foot-8 guard from Windsor, both in their fourth campaign with the team.

Clemençon, a two-time all-Canadian and former CIS player of the year, once again led the Lancers in scoring (17.9 per game) and rebounding (7.3) in league play. Langlois, the MVP of the last two national tournaments, had an OUA-best 6.0 assists per contest (second in CIS) and is up for a second straight CIS defensive-player-of-the-year award later this week.

Third-year guard Korissa Williams joined Clemençon and Langlois as an OUA all-star this season. The former junior national team member, who represented Canada at the 2011 FIBA under-19 world championship, contributed 15.1 points per match as Windsor ran the table in conference play with a 21-0 mark.

The Lancers, who were the top offensive (76.8) and defensive (52.2) team in the country during the regular schedule, faced first-round opponent Ottawa once this season, on November 10, and easily prevailed 71-47 on home court.

Windsor hopes to join Winnipeg (1993-1995) and Victoria (1980-1982) as teams to capture three straight Bronze Baby Trophies, while Laurentian holds the all-time record of five consecutive triumphs from 1975 to 1979.

“We are excited to be back at the national championship again this year,” said eight-year head coach Chantal Vallée. “We are fortunate to have a very experienced team having been here in each of the past five seasons and we’ll be relying on that experience to hopefully bring the Bronze Baby back to Windsor again this year.”

Read the full tournament preview at goLancers.ca.