Huskie Women's Basketball History

The days of the program began as the Huskiettes. The 1949 team, led by co-captains Sylvia Fedoruk and Lydia McNamara, went undefeated, capturing the city and provincial senior titles as well as the Canadian Western University Championship.

In the 1970’s the program achieved respectability in the Canada West under head coach Pat Jackson.  From ’72-82, the Huskies were 109-91, third in the then six-team Canada West during that period. Karen Kusler was a key cog for the team in the early part of the decade, racking up 998 career points in conference play. 

The ’75-76 season saw the debut of Swift Current product Nancy Brentnell. Brentnell would easily become the all-time leading scorer in program history with 1,408 career points. She was a Canada West All-Star on several occasions and her contributions along with fellow all-star Sheila Brennan would carry the Huskiettes through to the 80’s. 

In the 80’s, the program began to suffer some significant setbacks. After a disastrous 0-10 season, Pat Jackson, coach of the program for 13 years decided to move on. Her replacement, Tracie McAra was unable to make any major improvements and only lasted three years at the helm with a 6-34 record. 

In 1989, Irene Wallace took over and in her six years in charge fared no better, finishing at 12-108. From 1994-98, Tracy Bowie would take over but would experience the same problems at 12-68. Two bright spots during Bowie’s years however were the play of Allison Fairbrother and Kim Grant. Fairbrother was a force for the Huskies on the interior, amassing 1,330 career points, third in school history. Grant was an outstanding contributor as well notching 1,129 points from ’93-’98. Fairbrother is now an assistant coach with the team.

For the 1998-99 season, the Huskies went through another coaching change, hiring Ontario native Lisa Thomaidis. In her first two seasons, led by top scorers Jacqueline Lavallee and Carla Puetz would slowly begin to return the program to respectability. In ’00-’01, the Huskies would open up the new millennium with a 7-15 record and a trip to the postseason, their first in 18 years. 

The Huskies would miss the playoffs the next two seasons but a exciting young core led by Calgary native Ashley Dutchak and Rockglen’s Sarah Crooks would give the Huskies hope for the future. The 2003-04 campaign was a breakthrough season for the program as they finished with a winning record at 11-9 and hosted a playoff series. Crooks and Dutchak had huge sophomore seasons but they were unable to produce in the playoffs, swept two straight by Winnipeg in the postseason. In 04-05, the Huskies once again finished at 11-9 and hosted a playoff series but were unable to find postseason success, losing to UBC in two straight. 

The 05-06 season was a historic one for the program. The team enjoyed their best regular season ever, finishing at 17-3. Crooks was a CIS All-Canadian and a recipient of the Nan Copp Award as the top player in the nation. Late in the season, Crooks became the all-time leading scorer in school history topping Nancy Brentnell’s 25-year old record. In the playoffs, the team finally found success, defeating the Calgary Dinos 2-1 in the Central Divison Final. In the Canada West Final Four, they knocked off top-ranked UBC and Simon Fraser to capture the school’s first ever conference championship in the modern era. The Huskies had the No. 1 ranking in the nation going into nationals in New Brunswick, but were upset by tournament hosts UNB in the quarter-finals. 

The next season, the Huskies had one last shot at a national title with their inside-outside combo of Crooks and Dutchak. The squad finished the regular season at 15-7, third in the Central Division. Crooks won the Nan Copp award for the second time and was also a CIS All Canadian. The Huskies started the playoffs on the road, knocking off Calgary in two straight. In the Central Division final, the Alberta Panas defeated the Huskies in three games.

The Huskies started the 2007-08 season knowing they would be in the CIS Championship as hosts. They also knew they might have a bumpy ride with the young team full of first and second year players. They finished the season 9-13 and in third place in the Central Division. It was in the postseason that the team showed their true potential knocking off the then-ranked Calgary Dinos in two straight before pushing the then-ranked No.4 Alberta Pandas to three games. They finished sixth at the CIS Championship.

The Huskies made a big jump in 2008-09 finishing with a 18-4 record and first in the Central Division. However, the playoffs weren’t as expected for the Huskies. They lost all but one of six playoffs games including two in the CIS Championship. Kim Tulloch was named a CIS First Team All-Canadian and Lisa Thomaidis was named the CIS Coach of the Year.

In 2009-10, the Huskies had their best finish at a CIS Championship knocking provincial rival Regina Cougars off for the bronze medal at the national event. The Huskies finished the season at 14-6 and had a CIS top five ranking all season long with the help of new addition and fifth-year Lindsay DeGroot. Together the Huskies found their groove in the postseason blowing through Canada West quarter-final competition and finishing third in the Canada West after defeating Alberta.

Saskatchewan continued to prove they were a powerhouse in CIS women’s basketball in 2010-11. Finishing with a program-best and Canada West first place 22-2 record (32-3 overall), the Huskies had a 20 game conference winning streak that stands at 27 overall games. Ranked No. 1 in the CIS for seven weeks, the Huskies blew through quarter-final competition to host the Canada West Final Four. In a comeback victory, the Huskies defeated the Regina Cougars 77-74 for their second-ever conference title. At the CIS Championship – the fifth in sixth seasons for the Huskies – Saskatchewan defeated the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks 58-51 in the quarter-final, the St.FX X-Women 58-48 in the semifinal before losing to the host Windsor Lancers 63-49 in the final.

With the loss of five fifth-year players including four starters, the Huskies exceeded expectations with a 15-5 record. The Huskies finished second in the Prairie Division hosting a Canada West Quarter-final series against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack. After defeating the WolfPack in two games, the Huskies finished with a bronze medal at the Canada West Final Four in Regina with a 71-65 win over the Fraser Valley Cascades. Saskatchewan had another lifeline to the CIS Championship as hosts of the CIS West Regional, but were ousted by the Brock Badgers in a 66-62 loss. But on the strength of their regular season, the Huskies were handed the wildcard berth into the CIS Final 8 in Calgary where the Huskies finished sixth.

In 2012-13, the Huskies lost in three games in the quarter-final on the road to the Fraser Valley Cascades. One year later, the Huskies avenged the loss defeating the Cascades 67-56 to capture their third conference championship in nine seasons. The Huskies finished fourth at the CIS Final 8 in Windsor. In 2014-15, the Huskies once again advanced to the Canada West Final Four and the CIS Championship. Saskatchewan finished second in the conference and fourth in the CIS.

With an 85-71 victory over the Ryerson University Rams, the Huskies were crowned CIS champions for the first time in 2015-16. Saskatchewan started the season with a 16-game winning streak and was ranked No. 1 in the country for seven straight weeks. The Huskies also won their fourth Canada West title with a 73-62 win over the Regina Cougars. 

Download the 2016-17 Huskie Women's Basketball Media Guide

Women's Basketball Statistical History

Career Leaders

Season Leaders

Year-by-Year Results

Records (vs CIS Opponents)

All-Time Athlete List