November 19, 2015…CALGARY-After a break-through season in 2014-2015, the St. Mary’s Lightning women’s basketball team is starting getting noticed. This week the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association(CCAA) released its top 15 ranking list for Nov 17th, and for the first time ever, the Lightning have cracked the top 15 teams in the Country at number 14.

“It seems a little surreal. When we started this process last year, I never would have thought the team would come along this fast.” says head coach Steve Shoults. “It’s about the process and we still have a lot of work to do in order to reach our pre-season goals. That being said, this is a nice achievement to let us know we are heading in the right direction.”

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Head coach Steve Shoults goes over plays during a time out called at the 2015 ACAC Women’s Basketball Championships at NAIT March 3-6

Head coach Steve Shoults goes over plays during a time out called at the 2015 ACAC Women’s Basketball Championships at NAIT March 3-6

Head coach Steve Shoults goes over plays during a time out called at the 2015 ACAC Women’s Basketball Championships at NAIT March 3-6

It wasn’t an easy climb. A brand new team on the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) scene in 2012-2013, the program went 2-39 in its first two seasons before Shoults took over and overhauled the program in 2014. The Lightning finished last season with a 10-14 record, and made their first post-season appearance, setting the tone for what was to come in 2015-2016. Despite not being a medal contender, Shoults says the experience was extremely valuable to his teams development heading into this season.

“I felt it was essential to make the post-season to give the girls an idea of the competition and the necessary work needed to be put forth in order to compete and win a championship. It was a fantastic atmosphere, one that not all athletes will attain in their college career, and that was our driving force going into this season.”

The Lightning are currently 6-1 on the season, with their only loss coming to last years ACAC Champion and the CCAA number one ranked Lethbridge Kodiaks.

A large part of their success has been third year guard Montana Romeril. In just seven games Romeril has been unstoppable, and currently leads the ACAC in scoring with 198 points, averaging 28 per game.

With only three games left before the Christmas break, Shoults is hoping to grab three more wins, and head in to the New Year with a near perfect record.

“If we can finish 9-1 going into the break, it puts us in a really good position to finish second in the South Division. I haven’t done the calculations, but I’m sure it would put fate in our own hands. Last year we counted on another school to get us in the playoffs…I would be a lot happier knowing we control our own playoff berth.”

Shoults and his squad will play host to their new cross-town rivals, Ambrose University, this Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at Glenmore Christian Academy.