Braedan Willis, Vikes Communications

The University of Victoria women’s basketball team gave up 29 points to the Regina Cougars in the third quarter of game one of their best-of-three Canada West quarterfinal series. After Amira Giannattasio gave the Vikes a two-point lead just before half time, Victoria only mustered 10 points in the third compared to the Cougars 29-points. From there, Regina cruised to a 71-51 victory on their home court in Saskatchewan.

The win puts the Cougars in the drivers seat as they now can close out the series and advance to the semi-finals if they can beat Victoria for a second-straight game tomorrow.

“We got a little frustrated early and didn’t handle it well, but I figured we were going to be okay in the third quarter and we got enough points there,” Cougars head coach Dave Taylor said. “We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit by turning the ball over too much, but our half-court defence was outstanding.”

Both the Vikes and Cougars found themselves in an offensive drought to start the game.

“I always find playoff games tend to have lower scores than the regular season due to both teams scouting each other so much,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair. “However, neither team was really shooting the ball well the start the game.

The low-scoring affair seemed to benefit the Vikes the most as they carried a 26-24 lead at the halftime break before the floodgates opened up for Regina in the third.

“Obviously we liked the fact we had the lead heading into the second half but we knew we had to clean up our play on the defensive side of the ball going into the third,” added Sinclair. “We let them go on that big run in and that pretty much killed the game for us. ”

The Vikes turned the ball over 30 times in the game while Regina also picked up a total of 27 offensive rebounds.

“They got too many second-chance points as they started to capitalize on their offensive rebounds more than they did in the first half. When you give up the ball and allow them to rebound as many times as they did you simply can’t expect to win in this league,” commented Sinclair.

Kyanna Giles and Angela Bongomin both had double-doubles for the Cougars. Giles had 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Bongomin had 12 points and 12 rebounds in 16 spirited minutes off the bench. Christina McCusker fell just short of registering a third double-double for Regina, finishing with eight points and 10 rebounds to go along with a game-high four blocks.

Amira Giannattasio finished with 13 points to lead Victoria. Ashlyn Day (12 points, 9 rebounds) and Aleah Ashlee (10 points) also scored in double figures for the Vikes.

Down 4-0 early, third-year Vike Calli McMillan drained a three pointer for Victoria’s first points of the game. Later on with the score 11-9 in favour of the hosts, McMillan once again hit a three to give her team their first lead of the game. However, Bongomin picked up a rebound in the dying moments of opening frame and dropped the ball in to give her team a 17-13 lead after one.

In the second quarter the two sides combined for a total of only 21 points. With just over a minute to go before half time Giannattasio hit her first three pointer of the night to tie the game at 24-24. In the final seconds of the quarter Giannattasio went coast-to-coast and sank a lay up to give the visitors a 26-24 lead at the break.

After an uncharacteristic seven point second quarter for the Cougars, Regina came out firing on all cylinders in the third. The home team put together a 29-10 run in the third quarter with multiple players contributing to the cause. By the end of the quarter Regina had eight different players record at least four points including Christina McCusker, Faith Reid and Bongomin who all had eight a piece. Kyanna Giles led the Cougars with 13 points while Giannattasio who posted 10 points through three quarters of play led the Vikes.

The offensive outburst in the third from Regina proved to be too big of a hill to the climb for the Vikes. Victoria once again was outscored in the final quarter 18-15 as the Cougars closed out the match to take game one of the best-of-three quarterfinal series by a score of 71-51.

The two teams will meet again tomorrow at 5pm in game two of the Canada West quarterfinal series. The Vikes will need to win in order to force a series deciding game three on Saturday night. All Canada West playoff games can be watched live on canadawest.tv.

SCORING SUMMARY
1          2          3         4:         F        
VIC:       13       13        10       15:       51
REG:     17        7         29       18:       71

SCORING LEADERS

VIC: Amira Giannattasio (13), Ashlyn Day (12), Aleah Ashlee (10)
REG: Kyanna Giles (13), Angela Bongomin (12), Faith Reid (11)