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by Derek Putz

University of Regina business administration students have reason to celebrate this semester. The Paul J. Hill School of Business finished second place out of 11 schools at this year's JDC competition in Lethbridge held Jan. 18-20.

They were voted the most improved school after placing eight out 10 schools last year.

Business administration professor and team coordinator Sylvain Charlebois credits the students for the turnaround this year.

 "The students actually started to believe in themselves. (They believed) that they were getting good. They walked in the room feeling that they actually had a shot of winning."

In all, 44 students made up the team that competed in business case challenges. The competition lasted three days and students had to work together to solve challenges focusing on finance, accounting, marketing, management, information systems, human resources, entrepreneurship and strategy.

A new approach by the faculty of business was another reason for the first podium finish in the school's history. Paul Hill, who the business school is named after, donated $10 million last year. The dean of business and Charlebois then put together a program that trains students how to deconstruct and present cases to a jury properly.

"The students really felt that they were supported by the faculty, and we were there, so it helped," says Charlebois.

"We've just proven to Western Canada that we're actually able to compete against the best and brightest of other universities."

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From one winning organization at the university to another, the Cougar's Women's Basketball team is gearing up for the Canada West final four.

The Cougars swept the Winnipeg Wesmen 2-0 in the Great Plains Final series. Even though they won all four games against Winnipeg during the season, second-year head coach Dave Taylor never took them lightly.

"As much as we've had success with Winnipeg, we certainly know that they can give us problems. We know from the season that if we don't play well, we can lose to teams below us in the standings," Taylor said before the game.

The Cougars lost in the first round of last years playoffs, but they are better prepared this year. New to the Cougars this season, Jessica Lynch led the team with 24.7 points per game and has been a key player in the playoffs so far.

The home crowd of 1,246 fans in the final game also really helped out the home side.

"Routines are easier to keep at home," Taylor said. "There's less things that you have to worry about as a coach and because we have so many local kids it's a big advantage to sleep in your own bed and not have to travel."

The Cougars are on quite a roll right now with seven consecutive wins. They had their best season (16-6) since 2004 when they finished 18-2 but lost in the championship game. They are looking for their first CIS title since 2001. They need just one win in the final four to advance to the CIS championships.

The final four takes place in BC this weekend.

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If basketball isn't your thing, maybe you'd like to check out a play. The U of R Student's Union is putting on Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.

The money from every ticket sold will be donated to SOFIA House, a Regina-based organization that helps to provide affordable housing for abused women.

It takes place at the U of R Education Auditorium on Feb. 28 and 29. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.; admission is $5 for students and $10 for the general public.

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