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SASKATOONEXPRESS - November 21-27, 2016 - Page 11



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(Continued from page 10) ukate is the only starter that returned from last season’s national championship winner. She is surrounded with a roster that contains six rookies. “She is going to play a big role,” said Thomaidis. “She brings a lot of experience with her, and she is going to really help those young ones I think raise their level of play on a pretty advanced pace. She’ll be a big part of these young ones coming along.” Dukate said the difference in experience is noticeable in this year’s Huskies team compared to last season’s squad. While the current Huskies are much younger, Dukate is impressed with the talent in the likes of rookies Libby Epoch and Summer Masikewich, who both played on Canada’s under-18 team this past summer. “It is really different, and we play really different,” said Dukate. “I know like all the rookies are trying the best of what they can.

“They are doing great in their first year. It is awesome to watch them grow in each practice. In time, we will show that we can be again like a championship team.” With her joy and passion for the game renewed, Dukate wants to keep playing high-level basketball in the future. She hopes to bring what she learned from her experiences in Canada back overseas. “I am hoping that the Latvian national team will invite me next summer home,” said Dukate. “I could try to compete with the best Latvian players to get on the women’s national team. “It would be great to come back on national team, because I played on my junior national teams. Now that I am kind of been four or five years out, it would be great to come back and stand for my country and maybe (play) in the future Olympics.” (You can see more of Darren Steinke’s work in his online blog stankssermon. blogspot.ca.)

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