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New star players are the highlights in a winless season

After losing all 20 games this season, the Tigers are taking pride in two new players who show the future is bright for the team

As the St. Francis Xavier University X-Women dribbled the ball out in the final game of the regular season, the Dalhousie University women’s basketball team concluded the season winless, a fall from their 1-19 record in 2022/23. 

Yet, despite going 0-20, this season saw the emergence of two star Tigers in Kaitlyn Ferrier and Sydney Guker-Wickie. 

Guker-Wickie spent two years at Cape Breton University, before she made her way to Dal. This season, Guker-Wickie finished 13th in points per game in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) division, averaging 12.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Ferrier, a rookie in the AUS division, averaged 18.7 points per game, which placed her fifth in the league in that stat. She also won the AUS Rookie of the Year award. 

A surprising debut

Ferrier didn’t expect to have this amount of success this early in her collegiate career. 

The 5-8 guard didn’t play any of her years in high school due to COVID-19 cutting into her grade 10 year, switching schools in grade 11 and being cut by her high school team in grade 12.

Despite this, Tanya McKay, the Tigers women’s basketball head coach, signed Ferrier anyway.

“Tanya McKay really took a chance on me,” Ferrier said. “Which I am super grateful for.” 

The first-year Tiger also said McKay has largely contributed to her success along with her teammates who have both believed in and taken a chance on her.

McKay knew what she was getting in Ferrier. The coach played against Ferrier’s mother, Cori Ferrier (née Blakebrough), when McKay was at the University of Winnipeg and Ferrier was at the University of Calgary, where she played before going on to the Canadian national team and playing in Europe.

“Kaitlyn is like her mom,” McKay said. “She’s a competitor and she just has that drive to excel in her and wants to improve to be better every game.”

McKay said that Ferrier is a natural scorer, and “when you have a kid like that on your team, you kind of know what you’re getting, and that kid can play basketball.”

Despite not being able to get a victory this season, Ferrier praised the Tigers for their resilience to not give up, and for still showing up to practice and working hard.

“Our team connection has been amazing,” Ferrier said. “This is a team where I have been the closest with everyone.”

For next season, Ferrier is looking to build on her three-point shot and her ability to set her teammates up in better positions. Off the court, she wants to be a better leader and be more vocal. 

She said seeing Guker-Wickie be an “amazing leader” made her want to embrace that quality herself.

A new beginning

Guker-Wickie called her time at CBU “up and down,” but says she learned how to appreciate basketball there. Now at Dal, as one of the older players on the team, Guker-Wickie has stepped into a leadership role.

“I think it’s nice to take some players under my wing,” she said.

The 5-9 guard said she has enjoyed her time at Dal so far, adding that the team’s record doesn’t show the amount of work that the team puts in every single day.

“I think we’re going to be able to make more of an impact [next year] than we did this year,” Guker-Wickie said. “And really show people the amount of work we put in this year growing as a team.”

Just like Ferrier, Guker-Wickie credited her team for her personal success this season. She said  her team helps put her in the position to score and said players like Ferrier and Simona Matic, another first-year guard for the Tigers, have been to get the ball to her when she needs it.

Guker-Wickie also called the team aspect a lot easier with the Tigers and said that she gets along with a lot of the other members of the team.

“We have really good bonds off the court, which sometimes translates to great bonds on the court,” Guker-Wickie said. “Honestly, we just have a lot of respect for each other and deep friendships which I think is more important than most things.”

On top of having years of experience with the Capers, Guker-Wickie played at a high level at her Ontario secondary school, Lincoln Prep. Last year, Guker-Wickie played Dalhousie intramurals before making her way onto the Tigers this year.

Guker-Wickie, Ferrier and the rest of the Tigers will return next year, only able to go up from here.

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