Great Scott-ies

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:01 PM ET

LETHBRIDGE -- They went from the agony of a devastating loss to the joy of victory in one dramatic season.

B.C.'s Kelly Scott turned the deep disappointment of losing the Olympic trials final to Alberta's Shannon Kleibrink into a Canadian curling crown last winter.

And she is determined to defend her title at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, which starts at the Enmax Centre this afternoon.

But sometimes, you need to lose to learn to win.

"It's painful but I think it's true," Team Canada second Sasha Carter said yesterday. "That was painful and it took us a while to get over. I remember when the Olympics started and if we hadn't had the Scott to prepare for, it would have been a little heartbreaking to sit back and watch someone else competing there.

"It wasn't fun to lose but it enabled us to win. It made us more prepared to play the (national) final (against Jennifer Jones) in February."

But Scott knows it's even more difficult to repeat than to win in the first place.

"(Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones) was quite a pro at defending a title and claiming back her trophy but it'll be tough," said the former Manitoba junior world champ. "It is probably one of the toughest fields you can gather together, and tougher than any cashspiel we've played in the fall. So, we'll have to pick up our game and play our best. We can't fly under the radar any more."

But she will enjoy her moments in red and white as long as they last.

"It's exciting," said Scott, also supported by third Jeanna Schraeder and Renee Simons. "It's been a while since we've gotten to wear the Canada coats so, it's kind of nice to switch it up from the (B.C.) blue."

But that Maple Leaf can be a target.

"It remains to be seen," said Scott, who is still tanned from a business trip she took to Mexico in December.

"We can only do what we can do within our control so, if other teams play lights out against us, we'll have to deal with that."

But that means added stress for the defending champs.

"No, I'd say there's more pressure at worlds where you are the sole Canada team whereas here, you're Team Canada but every province has a great team representing them," said Scott, who opens against Newfoundland's Heather Strong.

"It'll be tough but it's do-able."

Although Scott has not played many of the eastern teams this season, Carter expects the westerners to be the main threats, naming Alberta's Cheryl Bernard, Saskatchewan's Jan Betker and Manitoba's Jones in particular.


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