Strong rebounding, shooting and a full 40-minute effort lifted the University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team to an important 84-69 victory over the Trinity Western Spartans in Game 1 of the Canada West Play-In Series on Feb. 26 at the CARSA Performance Gym.
Five Vikes were in double-digit point totals on the night with veterans Jenna Bugiardini and Nicole Karstein putting up double-doubles of 26 points and 11 rebounds and 13 points and 14 rebounds, respectively. Second year Amira Giannattasio added 14 points and five rebounds while Kristy Gallagher shot 3-for-5 from beyond the arc in her 20-point performance.
The Vikes shot an impressive 58.3 percent from three-point distance (7-for-12) and were 31-for-65 in the paint (47.7 per cent). The Vikes won the rebound game over the Spartans 46-35, including 36 defensive rebounds to Trinity Western’s 27.
The Spartans got strong performances out of their big three of Tessa Ratzlaff, Kayla Gordon and Jessie Brown, who scored 22, 20 and 15 points, respectively. Despite the loss the Spartans pressed the Vikes to the very end and were a threat all night on both sides of the court, shooting 42.3 per cent (30-for-71) in the paint.
“(Trinity Western) is a smart, aggressive team that didn’t give us the same looks twice in a row all game,” commented Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair of her team’s opponents. “We had to switch things up and our girls executed well. At times we were a bit soft on the dribble, but that’s a result of the Spartans playing tough defence against us.”
Fourth-year Vike Jenna Krug started off Game 1 where she left off last weekend against Brandon by nailing an early three to give the home team the early 3-0 lead. Giannattasio followed up Krug a minute later with a three of her own to put the Vikes ahead 8-5 after a Brown three for Trinity Western. A three-point play from Gordon for the Spartans reduced the Vikes’ lead to six 22-16 at the end of the first quarter.
Four-straight points from the Spartans including a Ratzlaff jumper to begin the second quarter made things close at 22-20. With four minutes to play in the half, the Spartans deservedly tied the game after a long two-pointer from Carkner knotted things up 32-32. However, Gallagher cut to the rim strongly twice before the break for the Vikes to lay in four of her nine first-half points. The Vikes took the narrow edge going into halftime 38-36.
The playoff atmosphere was felt from both teams in the first half as both were shooting strongly and playing with high intensity. The Vikes were shooting 41.2 per cent from the field in the first half and were 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. The Spartans were strong in the paint, shooting 46.9 per cent with Gordon and Brown leading Trinity Western with nine points each. Bugiardini was the only scorer in double-digits with 10 points and six rebounds for the Vikes.
After the break, the Vikes put together a 9-point run in the first three minutes of the third quarter, including Gallagher’s second three-pointer of the night to give the Vikes the 49-40 lead. After the Spartans made it a four-point game following a timeout, Gallagher answered again from distance with a three to help give the Vikes their first double-digit lead at 57-47. The Vikes would take a 12-point lead into the final frame up 63-51.
Through three quarters both teams had shown quality offensively, but the Vikes began to establish their dominance in the fourth quarter. Bugiardini gathered a strong offensive rebound before adding the basket to stretch the lead to 14 early in the quarter. Minutes later, Giannattasio’s third three-pointer made the lead 20 with four minutes to play in the game. The Spartans relentlessly pursued the ball in search of a spark near the end of the game but it would be to no avail as the Vikes took Game 1 by a final score of 84-69.
“We’ve had some games where we haven’t shot well from the perimieter,” added Sinclair. “When we get that inside-out play our girls are able to make the difference.”
Game 2 of this Canada West Play-In Series goes tomorrow, Feb. 27, at 7:00 p.m. back at the CARSA Performance Gym. With a Spartans victory, the series would be pushed to three games with the decider going Sunday, Feb. 28 at 2:00 p.m. All games can be streamed live with pay-per-view stats at uvic.canadawest.tv.
1 2 3 4 F
UVIC: 26 12 25 21 84
TWU: 18 18 15 18 69