By Danielle Doiron
Winnipeg, MB – The University of Manitoba Bison women's basketball team led for most of Friday's Shoot for the Cure Night game against the University of Alberta Pandas but couldn't overcome a fourth-quarter rally. The visitors took the teams' first meeting of the season 72-68 at Investors Group Athletic Centre on Nov. 25.
The Pandas remain undefeated and improve to a 7-0 record, while the loss is the Bisons' third straight and sets the team back 1-6. The Herd's last win over the Pandas came on Jan. 21, 2011 (78-76), and Manitoba hasn't won at home against Alberta since Jan. 17, 2004 (87-85).
Alberta veteran Maddie Rogers led both sides with 24 points and nine rebounds. Nicole Konieczny had 16 points and eight rebounds for Manitoba.
The Bisons held their own against one of the Canada West Division's best teams in the first. Alberta opened the quarter with five consecutive points, and Manitoba responded with nine unanswered ones. The Pandas only managed four more points in the quarter, all of which came on free throws from Briana Carlyon and Megan Tywoniuk. Bison second-year Emma Thompson, meanwhile, put up six points to help give the home side a 14-9 lead entering the second.
The Pandas fought back but couldn't quite catch the Bisons in the second quarter. The visitors once again made an early impression – this time scoring 11 points in the first five minutes of the quarter – before Manitoba took off. The Herd defence gave up only seven more points for the rest of the half (four of which were scored in the final two minutes of play), while the Manitoba offence battled once again hold a five-point lead (32-27) at the buzzer.
Manitoba broke away in the third. Three Bisons – Taylor Randall, Konieczny and Keziah Brothers – each netted six points, combining for 18 of the 21 the home side scored in the quarter. The Pandas were held to only 13 points in the quarter, nine of which came from Rogers, as the Bisons closed out the third up 53-40.
But then the Pandas showed why they're an undefeated team. The visitors rallied, putting up 32 points in the final quarter alone (while the BIsons only scored 15 in the fourth), while Manitoba ran into trouble with turnovers. With 41 seconds remaining in the game, Rogers hit a three-point jump shot to cut the Bisons' lead to 68-67. She sunk another three-pointer with 13 seconds left on the clock and then added a pair of free throws to help Alberta claim their seventh victory of the season 72-68.
The two-game weekend set continues on Saturday at 4 p.m. CT at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
MB: Nicole Konieczny (16)
AB: Maddie Rogers (24)
MB: Nicole Konieczny (4)
AB: Maddie Rogers (3), Megan Tywoniuk (3)
MB: Emma Thompson (9)
AB: Elle Hendershot (15)