The UVic Vikes went head-to-head against one of the top teams in the nation and for three quarters they looked more than capable of hanging with the best.
The reigning national champion Saskatchewan Huskies did eventually pull away, utilizing a big fourth quarter to beat the Vikes 76-64 on the hardwood at the CARSA Performance Gym.
Jenna Bugiardini led the Vikes with 19 points and ten rebounds in the game. It was Bugiardini’s second double-double in two nights. Jenna Krug went six-for-nine from the field and five-for-six from the charity stripe to score 17 points. First-year Vike Calli McMillan added 12 points of her own.
“Calli came in and provided some good energy, she played with no fear,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair.
Both teams came out looking to score early and often at the beginning of the game, they scored 22 points apiece in the quarter. The Huskies began to gain some separation as the game wore on but the Vikes kept things close, trailing by just six points going into the fourth.
Saskatchewan began to show the defensive prowess that led them to a national title last season when it mattered most.
The Huskies limited UVic’s scoring opportunities in the final quarter, while beginning to pile up some points of their own to stretch their lead to an insurmountable margin.
The big deficit gave Sinclair a chance to play a lot of young athletes as the game wound down.
“The group at the end did a very good job of being aggressive to draw some fouls and play with some spirit. That was really nice to see,” said Sinclair.
The game was the last one of the pre-season for the Vikes. They put up a 5-3 record in games against some of the best teams U Sports has to offer.
The Vikes open their Canada West regular season schedule with a pair of games in Saskatchewan. They play the Regina Cougars on November 4 and 5.
SASK: 22-19-14-21: 76
UVIC: 22-12-15-15: 64
UVIC: J. Bugiardini (19), J. Krug (17), C. McMillan (12)
SASK: L. Epoch (22), M. Humbert (12), S. Masikewich (11)