• Canada West

UBC Thunderettes (WBB | Team)

Updated: Jan 26


NAME: Thunderettes

UNIVERSITY: British Columbia

CATEGORY: Team

SPORT: Women's basketball

YEARS ACTIVE: 1969-75


HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Six consecutive conference championships (1969-75)

  • Three straight national titles (1972-74)

  • Combined 56-4 in Canada West play (1972-73 to 1974-75)

  • Three players who would go onto enter the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame

STORY:


The dominant program during the early days of Canada West in the 1970s, the UBC Thunderettes women's basketball program was a West Coast power.


Led by the likes of future Canadian Basketball Hall of Famers Joanne Sargent, Kathy (Shields) Williams, and Carol Turney, UBC claimed conference championships every season between 1969-70 and 1974-75.


Along with their regional excellence over first Western Intercollegiate Athletic Association competition (1969-72) and then Canada West beginning with the 1972-73 season, UBC soared on the national stage as well.


In 1969-70 the program claimed the Canadian Senior 'A' national title with a win over the St. Vital Manitoba Grads 83-54 in the championship game, played in Saint John, New Brunswick. Overall, UBC went a remarkable 32-6 that season, establishing a program win record that stood for more than three decades.



The 1969-70 edition of the team was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, acknowledging that team's special season.


"We were all for one, an amazing group and I don't know if we knew it at the time, but we were breaking barriers. We were the first women's team to play in War Memorial Gym," recalled Betty Ross, who was a key part of the squad.



Beginning in 1971-72 there was a new national prize UBC had their sights on - the Bronze Baby, signifying university women's basketball supremacy. For three consecutive seasons, no one could best the Thunderettes, as they claimed wins over UNB (1972 and 1974) and Manitoba (1973) to top the nation.


From 1972-73 to 1974-75, UBC was nearly unbeatable in Canada West play, amassing a 56-4 record, establishing themselves as the conference's first women's basketball dynasty. Overall, they went 63-5 in conference and national tournament play over the four-year span, losing just once at the national tournament (1975 national final to Laurentian).


A trio of members from the Thunderettes have been inducted into the Canada West Hall of Fame as individuals, as head coach Ken Shields, Kathy (Williams) Shields, and Joanne Sargent were all part of the conference's inaugural hall of fame class in 2019-20.


Written by Evan Daum


UBC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL ROSTERS (1969-1975)


1969-70

Heather Cranston

Brenda McFarlane

Terri McGovern

Jan Gee (Kainer)

Wendy Grant

Eija Peitso

Betty Ross

Joanne Sargent

Carol Shollert

Linda Willard

Kathy Williams (Shields)

Coaches: Ken Shields

Norm Vickery


1970-71

Bev Barnes

Heather Cranston

Wendy Grant

Jan Gee (Kainer)

Brenda McFarlane

Terri McGovern

Debbie Phelan

Eija Peitso

Joanne Sargent

Linda Willard (Evans)

Kathy Williams (Shields)

Coach: Norm Vickery

Manager: Heather Butcher (Lennie)

1971-72

Bev Barnes

Bev Bland (Preston)

Heather Cranston

Jan Gee (Kainer)

Wendy Grant

Linda McCulloch

Terri McGovern

Debbie Phelan

Peggy Robinson

Joanne Sargent

Lynne Wells

Coach : Norm Vickery

Manager: Heather Butcher (Lennie)


1972-73

Bev Barnes

Bev Bland (Preston)

Kathy Burdett (Lambert)

Jan Gee (Kainer)

Wendy Grant

Debbie Phelan

Peggy Robinson

Joanne Sargent

Liz Silcott

Laurie Watson

Vicki Williams (Jury)

Coach: Norm Vickery

Managers: Heather Butcher (Lennie)

Joanne Hinchliffe

1973-74

Nora Ballantyne (Irvine)

Bev Barnes

Kathy Burdett (Lambert)

Judi Kent (McBride)

Debbie Phelan

Carole Turney (Turney-Loos)

Liz Silcott

Penny Sinden (Morgan)

Carole Wilson

Louisa Zerbe

Coach: Ron Thorsen

Manager: Joanne Hinchliffe

1974-75

Nora Ballantyne (Irvine)

Kathy Burdett (Lambert)

Judi Kent (McBride)

Sarah Lindsay

Debbie Phelan

Rosemarie Sebellin

Tara Smith (Shantz)

Sandra Tatchell (Gibbons)

Carol Turney (Turney-Loos)

Laurie Watson

Carole Wilson

Louisa Zerbe

Coach: Sue Evans

Ass’t Coach: Debbie Phelan

Manager: Barb Chinn

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