Jenna Bugiardini finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Victoria Vikes to a 58-51 victory in their home opener against the Calgary Dinos at the CARSA Performance Gym.
The loss was the first for the 2-1 Calgary Dinos, while the Vikes pick up their first win of the season in their first game at home after dropping their first two games to the U Sports no. 1 Regina Cougars.
Bugiardini picked up eight points in the first half but was a game-changer in the second, scoring 13 points as the Vikes bounced back from a sloppy first. The fifth-year Vike was nine-for-nine from the line, showing up time and time again when the Vikes needed her the most.
“She’s hard on herself and she’s going to be focusing on the other things but she’s great and she understands big moments,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair. “Jenna Krug was solid for us with some other people in foul trouble and some others just not in their rhythm.”
Amira Giannattasio also had a big game for the Vikes, scoring eight of her 14 points in a strong second half. She shot 6-for-11 from the field and two-for-five from beyond the arc to help give the Vikes some much-needed energy for a comeback in the second half.
UVic bounced out to a 15-9 lead after the first quarter on the strength of six points from Amira Ginnattasio but Brianna Ghali exploded for eight points in the second to send the Dinos to the half with a 35-8 lead. Ghali finished the game with 16 points, 10 more than any of her teammates as Bobbi Jo Colburn and Lauren Seabrook each added six points for the Dinos on Friday.
The Calgary native was deadly in the first half, hitting four of 10 shots from the field and making both of her attempts from beyond the arc. She was just as good in the second half, adding six points and two defensive rebounds to finish with five on the night.
But a late push for the Vikes proved too much for the Dinos on Friday, as Victoria outscored Calgary 16-6 in the final quarter to pull away with the 58-51 victory. It was a good sign for a team that had their troubles putting away teams early in the preseason.
“Both teams were kind of trying to hand the game to each other at times—turnovers, turnovers, turnovers,” said Sinclair. We’ve talked all week about needing to get our energy from the defensive half and we did that in the second half. I’ll take a 58-51 game any time over us trying to put up 80.”
The teams will be back at it on Saturday night, when they hit the court at 5:00 p.m. PT on canadawest.tv.
“We’re going to have to be a lot better tomorrow night because I know they’re going to be to,” said Sinclair.
UVIC: 15-13-14-16: 58
CGY: 9-24-10-6: 51