Matt Gutsch - Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON – On the strength of 52 rebounds, the University of Alberta Pandas basketball team picked up their ninth consecutive win of the 2016-17 Canada West season, this a 64-45 victory over the MacEwan Griffins on Thursday night at the Saville Community Sports Centre.
NEED to know: Pandas tie program record for best ever start at 9-0 (1999-2000) Game Star: Megan Tywoniuk (AB) – 14 points, 2-4 from 3-point range, 5 rebounds, 2 assists Game Star: Kerilynn MacLennan (MAC) – 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals Stat Line: Pandas – FG: 24-68 (35.3%), 3PT: 7-23 (30.4%), FT: 9-12 (75%), 52 rebounds, 13 fouls, 17 assists, 15 turnovers, 4 blocks, 8 steals Griffins – FG: 19-64 (29.7%), 3PT: 3-14 (21.4%), FT: 4-5 (80%), 39 rebounds, 15 fouls, 10 assists, 17 turnovers, 0 blocks, 10 steals
With the win, Alberta ties its program record for the best ever start to a conference season at 9-0. The Pandas previously hit 9-0 in the 1999-2000 season, the year after the Pandas won their first and only national championship trophy. The win is also Alberta's first in conference play against MacEwan as this was the first time the two Edmonton program had met in regular season play. The Pandas are 2-0 against MacEwan in playoff action, but this was the first time they met in conference play.
Alberta's 52 rebounds included 20 off the offensive glass, and was 11 more than MacEwan in total. Fourth-year forward Elle Hendershot was the game's Windex star, as she picked up a game high 11 boards to pace the Pandas. She also added 10 points for the double-double. The Pandas also had the game's top scorer as sophomore Megan Tywoniuk notched 14 points in the win. Fifth-year guard Maddie Rogers added 11 points as well, and the Pandas, one of the top three-point teams in Canada West, shot 30% (7-23) from outside the arc.
MacEwan, meanwhile, drops to 4-5 on the season. They were led by fourth-year forward Kerilynn MacLennan who banked 12 points. The Winnipeg native also chipped in with five boards and two steals. Former U of A Panda Kendall Lydon added 11 points and four assists in the loss as well.
Both teams struggled in the early going, hitting less than 30% of their shots from the field and scoring just 24 combined points. The play picked up in the second quarter, with MacEwan connecting on 46% from the field, while Alberta drained 38%. The Pandas, however, did earn the half-time advantage as they were up 28-25 at the break.
The Pandas put the game out of reach in the second half, outscoring MacEwan 36-20 over the final two quarters, shooting 50% from the field in the third and 38% in the fourth. The Pandas also got three of their seven three-points in the final 10 minutes as well.
The two squads will meet for game two of their first ever conference series on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. at the MacEwan City Centre gym.