The Douglas College Royals women's basketball team closed the first half of the PacWest schedule with momentum.
A split against two of the circuit's top teams moved the Royals up to 10th spot in the Canadian Colleges national rankings.
Douglas knocked off former nationally No. 10-ranked Quest University 65-58, but let a 15point lead slip away the next day in a 60-55 loss to No. 5 Capilano Blues.
The result left the Royals in sole possession of second place in the women's division with a 6-2 record, just four points back of the unbeaten Blues.
In the win against Quest, Coquitlam native Amonda Francis, a fifth-year forward, set the tone with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Francis, a Gleneagle alumna, continues to be an integral part of Douglas' attack with the league-leading 19.67 points-per-game average, and currently sits sixth among shooters in the CCAA.
She also is second in the PacWest in rebounds, with an average of 9.88 per night.
"We've done very well," said second-year coach Curtis Nelson, who took over late in the season last year. "Our recruiting has been excellent. We have the right mix."
Freshman shooting guard Chloe Kennedy proved the point, averaging 16 points over the weekend. First-year guard Adelia Paul averaged 10 points and five assists, while making just four turnovers.
The team also boasts fellow Coquitlam products Shanice Fuoco-Guy and Lauren Sollero.
"Our goal is to be there in March and challenge for a spot at the nationals," said Nelson.
"They want to achieve and push themselves every game."
To that end, Douglas has lined up a busy slate during the December break, including a pair of games against Washington State's Shoreline College and a tournament before restarting the regular schedule Jan. 4 against Langara.
Nelson believes if the Royals can hold a team to less than 60 points, a win should be in the cards.
"We like our team against any team in the country," said Nelson. "we believe defence is a key for us... Offence comes and goes, but defence is just hard work."