Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Road to The Cape

As a write this we’re on the road. We’re travelling to Sydney, NS for a double header against Cape Breton. I’ve never done the drive, but apparently it's about 9 hours. When we get there it will be the farthest East I’ve ever been.

We spend a lot of time on the bus. Sometimes we do homework (although probably not as much as we should). We sleep (although probably more than we should). We play cards, we chat, and we pester people who are trying to sleep.

A lot of the girls don’t like the bus and I can understand why. It probably has something to do with how frustrating it is to try to do homework without a desk. Or maybe it’s the fact that a lot of us have to sit sideways with our legs in the aisle because we don’t fit. Or, just maybe, it’s how hard it is to sleep when 9 people are playing Mafia, 14 people are laughing at some joke Will Farrell made and your neck is cranked at a weird angle, propped up on a backpack and three sweaters.

To be honest though, I like bus trips. Sitting still isn’t easy, but I think it’s one of the most underrated bonding experiences. I’ve learned a lot about my coaches and teammates while we’re on the road. And beyond that, it’s something that I used to hear about from university players when I was younger, an experience that, if it were mine, would make me realize that my hard work had paid off and that I really was playing on a Varsity team. It’s sort of like seeing my nameplate on my locker except somehow more tangible. I guess it’s because nothing makes you more aware of life and the passing of time than when it crawls slowly through a snowstorm somewhere between Sackville and Truro.

Our trips are different. We’ve been to Halifax, Montreal, Charlottetown and Antigonish. We’ve had busses with plugs for laptops and even some with wi-fi. The bus we’re on right now has skylights and hardwood floors. We’ve had drivers who stop only once in ten hours and ones who need coffee every 120kms. However, here are some things you can always count on. Emma always sits on the left side, second row from the back, Mel gets distracted easily no matter how many times she says “this trip I’m going to be on the homework train”, and that between the thirty of us we will never all agree on a movie.

Tomorrow we face off against Cape Breton. We played them in November and split. They’re a tough team, and it’s going to be physical. Plus, we both like to run so it’s going to be a fast one – but those are the best kind.

Tipoff tomorrow night is at 6:00 - go to for a link to the webcast


Thursday, January 19, 2012


There is something very comforting about having a routine.
It’s one of the reasons teams love home games so much. You can wake up in your own bed, have your favourite breakfast and then shoot in you
r own gym. You go home, have a nap, and cook a perfect pre-game meal. We listen to music, visualize and go over our scouts. We get taped in our taping room. We all have our own quirks, of course, like Meg mentioned last week she bakes, I shower and straighten my hair, Jordanne makes a particular smoothie. Some of us do things to jack ourselves up; others do things to calm themselves down. Whatever our routine, it’s well practiced and it’s chosen because it works.

Why am I’m bringing this up now? Because we have routines in our daily lives too; I’m starting to find my groove this semester, and I like it. Class and practice (and weights, cardio, individuals, film, and mental skills sessions) are the nonnegotiables. We fit everything else in wherever there is space. Unsurprisingly, there isn’t a lot of room, so our homework sessions become routine as well. The end result is a week that looks a lot like the one before and after it. It’s not that there is no change or surprises – because those do happen – but everything just gets comfortable. Early in the semester I find myself checking my schedule and texting teammates all the time (“What time is practice tomorrow?” Do we have weights today?”). A few weeks in and I’m relaxed. Each thing has its place in my schedule and I’m at ease.

I should also mention that as much as I love our home games (for a whole bunch of reasons other than just my routine) I really am enjoying our road trips. I’m getting to see a whole new part of Canada that I’d never been to before (I get to go across the Confederation Bridge tomorrow!) but nothing compares to playing at home.

This week’s player profiles are two rookie guards: Sam Wilson and Colleen Daly.

Sam Wilson


Woodstock, NB

Arts and Science

What's the toughest part of being a student-athlete? The toughest part about being a student athlete is managing your time. By time we have our individuals, practices, weights and games you’re exhausted and it is hard to have ambition to do work and it is hard finding time to see your friends outside of basketball because we are always so busy and you need to be fully committed to your team all the time. What are you most looking forward to this season? I think we have improved a lot lately and I am really looking forward to the few games and seeing how the rest of the year plays out because we are ready to win games. We are capable of a lot more then what we have shown at the beginning of the year and I hope our hard work pays off in the last part of the season.

Why do you wear #6? I didn't get to choose my number this year. But hopefully next year I’ll be able to get the number I want. I have always been #7 I have worn it almost every single year since I started playing basketball. All the other sports that I have played I wore that number and now my little sister wears it for basketball and my little brother wears it. Everyone in my family has started to wear it even my little cousins because I am the oldest on both sides for grandchildren.

Do you have any superstitions? I am a bit superstitious about eating less than two hours before the game. I think that I will play bad if I do.

Colleen Daly


Ancaster, ON

Recreation and Sport Studies

What's your best memory (so far) of being a VRed? My best memory is when we travelled to BC for a pre season tournament, it was great to travel across the country to play basketball.
What's the toughest part of being a student-athlete? The toughest part of being a student athlete is having to balance school and basketball. It is extremely important for athletes to manage our time wisely if we want to succeed on the court and in the classroom.
What's the best advice you've ever received from a coach? The best advice I have ever received from a coach is that you get as much out of things as you put into them. I have tried to use this advice for not only basketball but also everyday life.
Why do you wear #22? I wear number 22 because it was given to me when I came to UNB. I am planning on sticking with this number for the rest of my career here at school.

Off to PEI tomorrow for one game against UPEI! I'll let you know how it goes.


(Photos by my little sister, Bethan Chalke)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Help Coach Speedy THINK PINK!

Today is a day earlier than I had planned to post, but something interesting came up and I thought it was in the best interest of the program to share it.

In three weeks we host our annual Shoot for the Cure games. Shoot for the Cure is a CIS-wide initiative that raises money for breast cancer research. Over the last four years CIS women's basketball has raised over $400,000. This year, every team across Canada is hosting a game or tournament. Our Coach, Jeff Speedy, is the project manager.

This year, he's raised the stakes.

Coach Speedy has been challenged by our manager Alicia to dye his hair pink as a fundraiser. Coach Speedy has agreed, if Alicia can raise $966 by February 2nd. To help motivate people Alicia has photoshopped this wonderful image. After seeing the picture I knew this was a sight I needed to see in real life.

If you would like to make a donation please contact Alicia Sterling at

Regular post still to come this week!


Monday, January 16, 2012

PEI and Acadia

Hello again,

This weekend we had two games, beating UPEI on Friday, but losing to Acadia on Saturday. The games were each worth four points so they were big ones for us (in the AUS standings some games are worth 2 points, and others are worth 4 points)

The win over UPEI was a good one. We won 83-61. We were anchored by Claire’s 35 points (on 14-19 shooting), 9 rebounds and four assists. We were down 39-38 at halftime but then found ourselves in the second half to eventually come out with the win.

Saturday’s game was a tough one. We did some things well: we were 48% from behind the arc, we out-rebounded them, and we fought hard in the fourth. Down 38-31 at halftime, we came out of the locker room slow, and it felt like everyone was on a different page. We didn’t play together, and Acadia’s lead was extended to 18. We went on a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter but it just wasn’t enough.

A lot of the time I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit. We can be a very good basketball team. Or, we can be a team that isn’t very good. Exactly 24 hours after we came together and decided to put a team away, we let another team do the same thing to us.

We need to find the balance between the carnally athletic parts of us that want to force the other team to bleed and suffer (metaphorically of course) and the part that loves our team, that supports each other, and won’t let bad plays or mistakes come between us. If we can find that balance I think we’ll be able to do great things.

Now, switching gears a little bit, I’m going to introduce you to two of our players. I’m starting this week with Emma and Megan. They are our two fifth-year players; some of the wisest, most experienced players we have.

Emma Russell #9


Grand Manan, NB


What's your best memory (so far) of being a VRed? Beating Cape Breton last year to take the number one spot, and bringing the team to my hometown (Grand Manan) last season!
What's the toughest part of being a student-athlete? Time Management for sure, but it gets easier every year.

Why do you wear #9? - I used to wear #8 because it was my brother's number and I looked up to him, but my first year of High School basketball, a senior had number 8 so I chose the closest number to it that was available which was 9 - and it has stuck ever since. Also, the same year I looked up to Lisa Leslie who was number 9.

Do you have any superstitions? I always have to start the game with gum in my mouth, and also if I played really well with a certain sports bra on or a certain pair of spandex I will wear them again until I play badly in them. If I did something (ate a certain something, wore a certain something, etc) and played really well, I do it again!

Megan Corby #4


Fredericton, NB

Nursing – Advanced Standing Program

What's your best memory (so far) of being a VRed?

Getting the chance to play with my sister last year.
What's the toughest part of being a student-athlete?

I find I am pretty beat after I get home from practice. So getting the energy to stay up after practices to finish my homework. We play and practice so hard.
What are you most looking forward to this season?

Our Shoot for the Cure weekend (February 3rd/4th). There is always a great turnout and our whole team volunteers to help raise money for breast cancer research.

Why do you wear #4?

I have worn it ever since High school. I had lots of success wearing it so I have not wanted to chance since then.
What is your pre-game routine?

When we are at home I try to bake on game days or doing something crafty. It helps me relax and not get to anxious before the game

I'll be posting again later on in the week, including a few more player bios so check back!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Beginning.


My name is Allie Chalke and I’m from North Vancouver, BC. It’s my first year at UNB but my fourth year playing ball. I played the first three years of my eligibility in BC before coming to UNB this September to do a Masters of Philosophy in Policy Studies.

Hopefully this blog will be a chance for our supporters and fans to get an idea of what it’s like being a student-athlete at UNB. I’ll be posting about our games, practices, training and all the extra stuff that goes on while we prepare for the second half of our season (and, okay, maybe a little bit about the misadventures of a west-coaster experiencing things like winter for the first time).

But first, a quick update of what we’ve done thus far:

At the Christmas break we were 1-5, with our one win coming from a split with Cape Breton. We got time off for Christmas, which was marked by the security screener at the airport announcing that Coach Speedy must have been “struck by the spirit of Christmas” letting me go home for ten whole days. On the 27th of December we went to Montreal for Concordia’s Shoot For the Cure tournament. In Montreal, we lost to Concordia and Thompson Rivers but finished the weekend with a win over Western. Immediately after the game we boarded the bus and arrived back in Fredericton just in time to ring in the New Year.

After finishing off 2011 with a win we were excited to start 2012 the same way and we headed to Antigonish for a double header against StFX. We didn’t quite get it, with a loss on Friday, but we rallied on Saturday to pull off the win.

So, we currently sit 2-6. Our record isn’t ideal, but we’ve noticed a definite increase in our level of play lately and that can only mean good things.

This weekend we play UPEI and Acadia at home. Friday, we play UPEI at 6:00 and Saturday we play Acadia at 6:00 at the Currie Centre (both nights the men follow at 8:00).

I’m blessed with a fantastic team and over the next few weeks I’ll get to introduce you to all of them but I think for now I’ll leave it at that!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Welcome to the UNB Women's Basketball Blog ... blogging to begin soon!