Let's break down some numbers, just ahead of Canada's game against Sweden, in the gold medal women's curling game at the Sochi Olympics. (Thursday, February 20, 8:30 am Eastern time, on CBC.)
Jennifer Jones has skipped the Canadian side to a perfect 10 and oh record so far.
Margaretha Sigfridsson, the skip for the Swedish team (although she throws lead stones) has led her team to an 8 and 2 record.
These two teams met early in the round robin, with Canada coming away with an easy 9 - 3 victory, in 8 ends. That was a game in which Jones shot a perfect 100%, while her counterpart Maria Prytz (Jones' counterpart in that she throws fourth stones for the Swedish team) finished the game at 83%. Over the course of the week, (9 round robin games and one semi-final game) Jones has shot an impressive 86%, while Prytz comes in at 79%.
According to Curlingzone.com statistics, as skips, Jones and Sigfridsson have met, in major events, four times since 2011, with each skip scoring two victories. That includes Jones' win at Sochi and two games won by Sigfridsson at last year's Players' Championship, in Toronto.
This week, according to CurlingZone, Canada has averaged just shy of 8.5 points scored per game, while allowing less than 5. Sweden has scored an average of 6.84 points and allowed an average of 6.
As whole units, Canadian women have an 86% shooting efficiency to their credit, while the Swedish team has shot 80%, this week.
A break down at each position shows that Canada has the edge, top to bottom. Again, these numbers have been accrued through all ten games.
Third: Kaitlyn Lawes, 83%. Christina Bertrup, 78%
Second: Jill Officer, 83%. Maria Wennerstroem, 78%.
Lead: Dawn McEwen 91%. Margaretha Sigfridsson, 86%.
Jones, McEwen and Wennerstroem all shot higher than their average in the semi's, while Lawes, Officer, Prytz and Sigfridsson had slight drops. Bertrup fell to 65% in Sweden's semi-final win over Switzerland.
Overall, Jones and her Canadian team have a won/loss record of 45 and 12 this season, while Sigfridsson and her Swedish side have a record of 35 and 15, according to Gerry Geurts, at Curlingzone.
Sigfridsson's team won the 2013 European Championship last November and finished second at last year's World Championship. Jones' team has won three World Curling Tour sanctioned events this season, including the Canadian Olympic Trials and stands first in the WCT's order of merit standings. Sigfridson's team is 6th.
Take all these numbers with a grain of salt, if you will. I asked 2010 silver medallist Cheryl Bernard what might be the biggest factor, outside of skip's play, and she wrote back just one word:
When I asked how tough this game against Sweden will be, Bernard replied:
"Any gold medal final is tough mentally, but I think the Jones team is on top mentally and technically."
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