Lethbridge – A year ago it took the Lethbridge Pronghorns women's basketball team until their eleventh conference game of the season to earn their first victory, what a difference a year makes as the Pronghorns opened the Canada West season with a tight 58-57 win over the MacEwan Griffins.
Trailing for the first time in the quarter, the 'Horns outscored the Griffins 21 -11 over the final 12 minutes to secure the season opening win.
A balanced attack led the Pronghorns with four of five starters picking up double digits in points. Katie Keith led the way with 12 points, while Zoe Dahl, Mariah Miller and Jessica Bachynski all picked up 10 points. For the Griffins, Kendell Lydon scored a game high 23 points and Kerilynn MacLennan chipped in with 10.
Playing their 2016-17 Canada West home opener, the Pronghorns jumped on the Griffins early, building a 13-4 lead but the Griffins would chip away in the quarter and trail 17-11 at the first break.
In the second quarter the Griffins were more aggressive at the offensive end of the floor and would outscore the 'Horns 19-16 in the quarter but the 'Horns would hold a 33-30 lead at half.
A season ago the 'Horns struggled offensively, finishing 17th in scoring but the new look 'Horns looked are more efficient in the opening half, 48%, including a hot 6 of 13 from behind the arc. The Griffins were a cool 27.5% from the floor but got to the line six times in the half compared to only two free throws from the 'Horns.
Katie Keith, who led the Pronghorns as a freshman in scoring, picked up where she left off from last season, leading the 'Horns with 10 first half points. For the Griffins, Kendall Lydon was the lone Griffin to find her stroke in the opening half, hitting 6 of 15 from the floor to lead all scorers with 15 points.
Out of the break, it was all MacEwan outscoring the 'Horns 16-5 with just over two minutes remaining in the quarter to vault the Griffins in front 46-37. The 'Horns would respond in the final minutes of the quarter, cutting the Griffins lead to 48-43, setting up an exciting fourth quarter.
With less than a minute to play, new comer Katie Hankins hit a three pointer put the 'Horns up 58-55 and while the Griffins cut the lead to only one in the dying seconds, the 'Horns were able to force MacEwan into a turnover just before the buzzer to hold on to the victory.
Game two of the weekend series will go tomorrow night at the 1st Choice Savings Centre, tip-off is scheduled for 5:00pm. The game will also be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv , home of all Canada West webcasts.