Great Scott

STEVE GREEN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

It was German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who is credited with the saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

In a curling sense, Kelly Scott agrees wholeheartedly.

The diminutive B.C. skip clinched top spot in the round-robin and last-rock advantage to start any playoff games with a pair of wins yesterday at the Scott Tournament of Hearts.

Scott and her rink of Jeanna Schraeder, Sasha Carter and Renee Simons became the first to secure a playoff spot with a 7-5 morning win over Jennifer Jones of Team Canada.

They then finished atop the standings with a 9-2 mark after an 8-4 win over Cathy King of Alberta. That meant a place in the 1-2 Page playoff game today at 1 p.m., against Colleen Jones of Nova Scotia, with the winner advancing to Sunday's final.

Scott had a well-deserved night off as she attempts to secure the glory that has painfully eluded her the last 12 months.

A year ago, she was second in the round-robin at the Hearts in St. John's with an 8-3 record, but went 0-2 in the playoffs. Scott then lost the Olympic trials final to Shannon Kleibrink, who went on to win bronze in Turin.

Scott said she's trying to build on those setbacks.

"We're a young team. We play for fun, for the love of the game and for the love of being out on the ice together," she said. "If anything, the trials taught us a lesson, that you've got to experience things to learn from them and as long as you do learn from them, then you can move on.

"The Olympic trials weren't the be-all and end-all. It was just a blip on our record and it won't stop us from playing well here."

Beating two fellow contenders on the final day was the perfect playoffs prep.

"The teams we played today, we've played before. They know and we know we have to play well against each other and that's what showed today. From here on out, the teams that make the playoffs are good, strong teams and those are the kind of games you're going to see."

So, is Scott due?

"Ask me and I'll say yes," she said, laughing. "Ask some of the other girls and maybe they say not yet."

The remainder of the playoff picture wasn't decided until after three games last night with more twists than a pretzel factory. When the dust settled, Team Canada and Nova Scotia were 8-3, with Nova Scotia getting second on the basis of its round-robin win over Jennifer Jones.

Heather Strong of Newfoundland and Eve Belisle of Quebec tied for fourth at 7-4 and meet in a tiebreaker at 8:30 this morning, with the winner playing Team Canada in the 3-4 game today at 7 p.m.

Last night, Jennifer Jones won a wild 9-7 game with King, who wound up 6-5; Belisle shaded Colleen Jones 8-6 and Strong fell 9-7 to Krista Scharf (4-7) of Ontario, who scored three in the 10th.

"I knew my team, we just never give up. But when Colleen had that shot for three in the eighth, I never dreamed we'd steal two," said Belisle, grateful for the help she needed to stay alive. "I hate to wish anyone to lose, especially Newfoundland because they're our friends. But I guess this was meant to be.

"It was really stressing to watch. My team played really well. They were superb for the first five ends, then I picked up my game as well."

Colleen Jones said her team was "due for a haphazard game.

"We were a bit sloppy and we gave them a gift in the eighth, but they're a great team and it's wonderful to see new faces at the Hearts," she said. "We just have to go on a roll now. The playoffs are a whole new day, a whole new game."

Strong, who led Ontario 5-2 midway through, was decidedly displeased, especially as a win could have given her second.

"It was very frustrating and disappointing that we didn't play well. They did and that's curling. That's what makes it exciting for the fans.

"We just didn't execute. We tightened up. I thought we'd come back and maybe we could have had it been a 12-end game. But we simply didn't put any rocks in the right place for 10 whole ends."

The Team Canada-Alberta game was fraught with missed shots as the lead changed hands four times. King appeared to have taken control with a steal of two in the seventh for a 7-5 lead, but gave up steals of one in each of the final two ends to see her playoff hopes evaporate.

Jennifer Jones was breathing a sigh of relief afterward, even though she had already secured a tiebreaker berth at worst.

"We just weren't sharp, but I don't know if we escaped," she said. "We had opportunities and so did they."


Videos

Photos