Two Winnipeg Wesmen have been honoured with Canada West women's basketball major awards announced on Wednesday.

For the second time in two seasons, Keylyn Filewich has been named the conference's Player of the Year, repeating the feat she achieved in 2019-20, the last time the conference had games.

And off a remarkable bounce-back season, Kyanna Giles has been named the winner of the Courage Overcoming Adversity Award, given to the conference's so-called comeback player of the year.

Filewich, a fifth-year senior out of Vincent Massey Collegiate, was a leader on both ends of the floor averaging 17.3 points, a career-high 10.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. She was fifth in the conference in points per game, fourth in rebounds per game, fourth in blocks per game, and fourth in field goal percentage (51.7), which marked the fifth straight season she's shot at least 50 per cent from the field.

Filewich also had 2.1 steals per game, which ranked 12th in the conference and second among forwards.

Filewich, who transferred from UBC in the summer to pursue her Masters degree in Management, becomes the third Wesmen player to win the award in back-to-back seasons, joining Antoinette Miller (2016-2018) and Erin Soroko (1999-2001).

"She has been a pleasure to coach. She's low-maintenance, hard-working and 100 per cent committed," Wesmen head coach Tanya McKay said. "Everyone that we've played has defended us from the inside out. They've swarmed her, doubled her, they've paid a lot of attention to her and she still put up numbers."

Filewich has been named to an all-Canada West team in four of her five seasons of play.

Giles has put forth an inspirational effort after more than two years away from the game.

Giles, a Sisler High School graduate who transferred from Regina following the 2018-19 season, rebounded from a torn knee ligament suffered in her final playoff game with the Cougars in February 2019 and went on to post all-star stats in the process.

Despite sitting out the 2019-20 season to rehab the injury and being set back by the COVID cancellations of 2020-21, Giles returned to form and was named a second-team all-Canada West in her first season in Wesmen Red.

She was second on the team in scoring with 17.0 points per game, which ranked seventh in the conference, was second on the team in rebounds per game at 8.4, and led the team in assists with 5.3 per game. Her 2.2 steals per game were also second on the team and ninth in the conference.

Giles also powered through another injury this season that kept her out of two conference games midway through the campaign.

"It just shows her strength, grit and resilience," Wesmen head coach Tanya McKay said. "She had to work incredibly hard to get herself back to this point.

"Her ability to fully recover and step on the court and give what she gives is remarkable. She gives 110 every possession, she sacrifices her body, she is always in the now, and for her to have her knee injury and then fight off the shoulder injury this year shows she's just a pillar of strength."

She has been named all-Canada West in all four seasons of play.

Filewich and Giles will now go forward as the Canada West nominees for the national U Sports national player of the year and Tracy MacLeod Award.

The Wesmen are on the road this weekend in Saskatoon for the Canada West Final Four. They will play Regina in a semifinal at 9 p.m. CT with a berth to nationals on the line. The game can be seen live on Canada West TV presented by Co-Op.

WBB: Final Four to decide new champion

Semi-finals tip off Friday; championship match set for Saturday in Saskatchewan

Brian Swane, special to CW

It’s why basketball in March is described as madness.

The chance that, for a given 40 minutes, even the most overmatched underdogs can be one point better than the seemingly unstoppable powerhouse. As unpredictable as it is inevitable, equal parts ecstasy and heartbreak, there is nothing more captivating than the upset.

And with its novel format for 2022, a single-elimination bracket that began with all 17 teams, the Canada West women’s basketball postseason has delivered them in spades.

Three of the four quarterfinal games held March 6 in Calgary saw the lower-seeded team win, with only the top-seeded Saskatchewan Huskies surviving the mayhem.

Those sent packing included the Alberta Pandas, who finished with the best record in the Central Division, along with the Trinity Western Spartans and UFV Cascades, who tied for top spot in the West Division. What remains is a fascinating quartet of teams that are assembling this weekend in Saskatoon for the 2022 Canada West Women’s Basketball Final Four at the University of Saskatchewan’s Physical Activity Complex.

Friday’s semi-finals will see the hosts Huskies entertain the Lethbridge Pronghorns at 6 p.m. CST, and the Regina Cougars taking on the Winnipeg Wesmen at 8 p.m. CST. The winners will meet in the championship final at 7 p.m. on Saturday, preceded by the bronze medal game at 5 p.m. CST.

Saskatchewan is the two-time defending Canada West champion and has won four of the last five conference titles. Regina is the only other team to capture the Valerie Girsberger Trophy in that span. It’s been nearly three decades since Lethbridge won its only title nearly thirty years ago, in 1993, and Winnipeg is seeking its first Canada West championship.

Will the favourites prevail? Will there be more bracket-busting? Anything is possible during the madness of March.

Catch all the action streaming live on CWTV presented by Co-op

Lethbridge Pronghorns (10-6 regular season, 2-0 playoffs)

How They Got Here: defeated Trinity Western 76-67 in Canada West quarterfinal

Player to Watch: Fourth-year guard Jessica Haenni (Canada West Second Team All-Star; 14.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.1 apg)

Key Stat: The Pronghorns have lost just twice in their previous 16 games spanning the regular season and playoffs, going 14-2 since Nov. 6, including eight straight wins on the road or a neutral court.

Regina Cougars (8-8 regular season, 2-0 playoffs)

How They Got Here: defeated Alberta 80-71 in Canada West quarterfinal

Player to Watch: First-year guard Jade Belmore (CW Rookie of the Year, CW Third Team All-Star, CW All-Rookie Team; 14.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.8 apg)

Key Stat: The Cougars make – and take - a lot of shots from downtown, leading Canada West during the regular season in both 3-pointers made (9.9 per game) and attempted (30.3 per game).

Saskatchewan Huskies (14-2 regular season, 1-0 playoffs)

How They Got Here: defeated Calgary 72-62 in Canada West quarterfinal

Player to Watch: Fifth-year forward Summer Masikewich (CW Defensive Player of the Year, CW First Team All-Star; 17.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.0 apg)

Key Stat: The Huskies haven’t lost a Canada West playoff game in more than four years, winning 12 straight since being defeated by Regina in the 2018 championship final.

Winnipeg Wesmen (14-2 regular season, 2-0 playoffs)

How They Got Here: defeated UFV 75-69 in Canada West quarterfinal

Player to Watch: Fifth-year forward Keylyn Filewich (CW Player of the Year, CW First Team All-Star; 17.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.6 apg)

Key Stat: Winnipeg is 4-0 against the Cougars this season, winning twice both at home on the road, with the victories coming by an average margin of 7.8 points.


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