Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

2023-24 Women's Basketball Season Preview

2023-24 Women's Basketball Season Preview

Written by Thomas Scott

After finishing last in the conference last season, the Dalhousie University Tigers women’s basketball team find themselves as underdogs this season. The underdog title is one that head coach Tanya McKay is quite fond of.   

“I don't know if too many teams will respect us in the beginning, but by the end of the season they will,” says McKay.   

The Tigers are unfazed by the last-placed finish last season. After all, it is a new season with improved players, new faces, and a fresh record. McKay is ensuring the team is focusing on the present.   

“We talked about this year only. What are we doing this year? What's next? Everything's been very positive, and they're looking ahead,” says the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Famer.   

Emma Ward, a third-year guard majoring in therapeutic recreation, says the team balances bonding and competitiveness. Everyone wants to win for each other.    

“Everyone goes at each other. It's a good balance of having fun and making each other better,” says the Moncton, New Brunswick native.  

Creating a hard-working culture is McKay, the 2014 Basketball Manitoba Coach of the Year. In her second season coaching the Tigers, players can feel the culture McKay is building.   

“She truly cares about her players off the court,” says Sydney Guker-Wickie, a guard majoring in arts. “She wants everybody to always be at their best whenever they step foot on the court.”  

Joining the Tigers this season is fourth-year guard Eva Widmeyer. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native is an AUS champion, winning with the Acadia University Axewomen in 2022. She brings championship pedigree to the Tigers.  

“I lead by example,” says Widmeyer, a masters of public administration student. “I look to be supportive on and off the court and keeping everyone competitive, hungry and ready to practice all the time.”   

Widmeyer showed in the 2022 AUS semi-final that she can come up big when it matters most. She poured in 19 points off the bench, shooting 7-12 from the field and 4-4 from 3-point range in an 86-82 win over the Saint Mary’s University Huskies.   

Ward can feel the experience and leadership Widmeyer brings.   

“Eva makes everyone feel super welcome and comfortable to be themselves,” says Ward. “I think that has a huge part to play in everyone working really hard and being comfortable to make mistakes in practice and to try things and push boundaries. It’ll make all of us better.”    

Guker-Wickie last played for the Cape Breton University Capers in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, with the latter season not taking away a year of eligibility due to cancellations from COVID-19. She felt the urge to play competitive basketball and be part of a team again. Guker-Wickie played for the Halifax Thunder in the Maritime Women's Basketball Association this past summer.    

“Sydney is super competitive, and she's not afraid to show it. She does it in a really great way by making others competitive and getting others excited to be competitive,” says Ward.   

Guker-Wickie says she hates losing in anything, even cards. The Kitchener, Ontario, native brings a competitive spirit to the team daily.   

“One of the most crucial parts to a practice is having that competitive side because when you step on the court against another team, they're not holding back anything,” says Guker-Wickie. “They don't know who you are off the court. They're coming at you with everything they have. If you can get used to that in practice, you'll be ready for anything.”   

With nine players yet to enter their third year of eligibility, the team has building blocks for future seasons.   

“It will be scary to see what they can put together,” says McKay.  

Entering her first season is Kaitlyn Ferrier, who averaged 18 points per game over the Dr. Carolyn Savoy Memorial Women’s Basketball Tournament in two victories and one loss. Widmeyer says Ferrier is a “natural scorer.” 

The Tigers begin the 2023-24 season on Friday, October 27, against the Cape Breton University Capers at 6pm at the Dalplex.