Wbball adds Erin Vekic

January 9th, 2013

Mariners women bolstered by return of veteran forward


Team wins its first game of the season, lifted with the addition of Erin Vekic


Erin Vekic is back and the Vancouver Island University Mariners women's basketball team could not be happier.

VIU (5-4) toppled the visiting Camosun Chargers (2-7) by a score of 57-42 in PacificWest womens basketball on Friday night.

Vekic tallied 10 points in her debut after sitting out the first half of the season. She had been one credit shy of being eligible to join the team, forced to watch from the sidelines as her team fought to reach the .500 mark toward the end of 2012.

The former Kwantlen Eagle made all the Mariners practices in 2012 to ensure she did not miss a beat.

"It was really good motivation for me, just seeing the team, how they all take pride in our team," said Vekic. "I was feeling ready to go."

A slow-going first half indicated that the Mariners might not have seen the best of Vekic just yet.

After an early struggle, the 21year-old compiled a field goal, made good on two of three three-pointer attempts and added two points from the line.

"It was really exciting. A lot of nerves at first, almost too much energy," she explained. "But after a bit it started to settle in." Jocelyn Jones delivered 13 points last night, including five rebounds. Power forward Jami Oliver was second on the team with 12 and tied Shayna Worthington for the rebound lead with eight.

Worthington also added 11 points.

Mariners head coach Bill McWhinnie was more than pleased to add Vekic to the roster, after the team was impacted by injuries, including a hamstring ailment that sidelined Jones.

"She's going to be a huge part of our team going forward. Big minutes, perimeter shooting, another ball handler - being a fourth year player, more veteran leadership," said McWhinnie.

"She was greatly missed." The addition will allow McWhinnie more flexibility during game time and he predicted. Vekic's strong second-half on Friday night gave evidence to the coach's prediction that she would be a valuable part of the team in 2013.

Men - Mariners 75, Chargers 60

The Mariners men (7-2) were also victorious on Friday night as they defeated the Chargers (2-7).

Leading the pack for the Mariners was guard Clayton Billett with 21 points, including five three-pointers and four rebounds.

Brandon Jones had 20 points and made good on seven of 13 field goals. He had five rebounds. Forward Ryan Davidson had six rebounds.

Next weekend, the men stay at home to play the Douglas Royals on Friday, 8 p.m. and the Langara Falcons on Saturday, 3 p.m. The women's Mariners play at 6 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday.