N.L. coming on Strong

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- The Rock is on a roll here.

With Newfoundland still partying over Brad Gushue's gold medal, its women's team has suddenly earned some attention of its own here.

Heather Strong's foursome upset Alberta's Cathy King 8-7 at the John Labatt Centre yesterday to post its fifth straight victory at the Scott Tournament of Hearts.

"Teams that do well here typically get on some sort of roll," said Strong, 29.

Strong just laughed when it was suggested that she does not want to let the gold-medal province down.

"We don't feel any pressure on that end," she said. "But for sure, Newfoundland's women's teams have been knocking on the door and we're still in the ball game at this point."

Deplorable

Actually, Strong was nowhere near knocking on the door last year when she finished a deplorable 1-10 in her home province.

"Night and day," Strong replied when asked to compare. "We've got a different group here, a new player and a different lineup, and lots of extra experience that we gained from last year's performance. So that's really the only way I can compare. It's the same province competing but we feel like we're a stronger contingency from Newfoundland."

That new roster includes new player Shelley Nichols, whose brother Mark just won Olympic gold at third for Gushue, at third, her sister Laura, who dropped from third to second and Susan O'Leary. And they now boast a 6-3 record and are in playoff contention.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones sank P.E.I.'s Suzanne Gaudet 6-1 to move into a three-way tie for first with B.C.'s Kelly Scott and Team Canada's Jennifer Jones at 7-2.

"That feels good because you're very much in control of your own destiny," said Jones, who also nipped Manitoba's Janet Harvey 7-6. "We'll try to grab that first or second spot so it's a big day (today). We've got two teams in contention with New Brunswick and Quebec and they'll certainly be fighting for their lives. But, in some ways, you like to have a game against someone who's also fighting for a spot, too, because the pressure's equal on both teams.

"Where you always get a little nervous is if a team's not in the hunt, then they come out loose as a goose."

Scott, who downed Yukon/N.W.T.'s Kerry Joe 8-5 and Quebec's Eve Belisle 9-5, faces Team Canada and Alberta today.

King rebounded from her loss to Strong by shellacking Saskatchewan's Tracy Streifel 11-2 to tie Newfoundland for fourth at 6-3. Quebec and New Brunswick are tied for sixth at 5-4.


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