MWBA - Maritime Womens Basketball Association

Big Tilts to Unfold Friday

The Maritime Women’s Basketball Association’s schedule maker must have a sense for theatre.

What a weekend of matchups in the MWBA, following on the heels of a dynamic opening weekend as the circuit gears up for Week II with much anticipation.

There are two big-time rivalry matchups unfolding Friday in the capital cities of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Both are 7 p.m. showdowns.

The reigning Legacy Cup champion Halifax Thunder, authors of a 21-game regular season winning streak, are home against city rival Halifax Hornets at Saint Mary’s University.

MWBA trivia buffs will know the Thunder’s only loss – ever! – came at the wings of the Hornets back in the inaugural championship game in 2022.

Talk about hype.

Thunder welcomes back former Canadian national team member Justine Colley-Leger to the lineup. Colley-Leger played in the first season for Thunder. She has plenty of company to lead a balanced team under head coach, Parker Regan.

Sandy Saunders, Sydney Guker-Wickie, Kiera Duffie, Alaina McMillan and Karla Yepez are just part of the squad that can play whichever style game you want.

Thunder enters at 1-0.

New head coach Augy Jones guides the Hornets into hostile territory with the squad seeking its first win against an opening weekend loss.

Veterans Toni Bianchini, Jasmine Parent and Hannah Brown are key players for the Hornets, who hope to have former Saint Mary’s three-point specialist Kendra MacKinnon in the lineup tonight.

In Fredericton, there is certainly a buzz surrounding the return of former Atlantic University Sport MVP and USPORTS first team all-star Amanda Russell to the hometown Freeze lineup in the league’s Medavie Game of the Week.

Sharp’s post presence will augment bigs Jenny Nkuah and Katie Butts while veterans Robbi Daley, Katie Daley and Jane Boyle are counted on for numerous assignments. Returnee Allie McCarthy and rookie Bailey Russell have shone through two games for the 1-1 Freeze. Fredericton also has a three-point specialist in Leah Travers, speed from Ann Bastien and the return of veteran Eva Tumwine, who missed last week’s games.

The game is set for Lady Beaverbrook Gymnasium on the University of New Brunswick campus.

The expansion Miramichi Her-Icanes, powered by explosive point guard Lauren Rainford, make their first foray into the Bluenose Province for a pair of games.

Miramichi (1-1) visits Lake City 56ers in a 2 p.m. start at Cole Harbour High School.

Rainford certainly has help with the Her-Icanes with sister Aiden Rainford in the paint, rebounding Abby Miller, scrappy guard Katie Donahoe and Bailey Black.

Lake City has a two-headed monster with the reigning Player of the Week Presented by Royale and league’s leading scorer Elizabeth Iseyemi. Iseyemi has Courtney Donaldson as a scoring duo. Rookie Courtney Cain-Nordin has raised eyebrows early and a veteran crew such as Samantha Martin, Leah Martin and Andrea Wright have helped Lake City to a 1-1 mark.

In Moncton, the 0-1 Mystics get to unveil its lineup to the hometown fans in a 6 p.m., clash with the Hornets.

Halifax arrives in time to play at Crandall University.

Veteran Kelly Vass continues to be a key cylinder in Moncton’s engine. The Mystics hope to have the offence of Leo Elbert back from injured list. Kelsey McLaughlin, Jenna Jones and Allie Berry are as good as any players in the league and can beat you inside or outside. Rookies Celine Sterckel and Lindsay Black have jumped right into the MWBA fray.

Miramichi will continue its road swing with a date against the Thunder, a 3 p.m., tip off at Saint Mary’s.