Aneesa Heatherington/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER -- After a determined win over the Pandas the night before, the UBC Thunderbirds fell to the University of Alberta 60-57 at War Memorial Gym. With the victory, the Pandas jump ahead of the T-Birds for third in the Canada West at 10-2, while UBC drops to 9-3.
Thunderbird Head Coach Deb Huband knew her team was capable of more.
"They came out with a lot more urgency than we did. We were flat in the first half and didn't compete with the tenacity we expect. Credit to Alberta, they came out with urgency and a real desire to split the series and they were able to do so."
Pandas' point guard Maddie Rogers (15pts. - 4 steals) quickness and sharp-shooting was a challenge for the 'Birds to contain. She was complemented by the deft inside play of Alberta forward Elle Hendershot (14pts. - 8rebs.).
UBC veteran forward Kara Spotton finished with a team-high 14 points, 4 boards and 3 steals in the loss.
"We had a lot of chances throughout the game, but weren't able to finish. I think they made some necessary adjustments, but we weren't hitting as many shots this game. This game we were struggling inside and outside," said Spotton.
Down 28-24 at the half, UBC came out re-energized in the third quarter, with Jessica Hanson going 4 for 4 from the stripe early. Keylyn Filewich tied it up at 34-34 with just over three minutes remaining in the third before a Spotton bucket put UBC ahead ahead 36-34.
Canada West leading scorer Maddison Penn forced a turnover with 10 seconds left in the frame and laid it in for a 42-38 UBC lead after three quarters.
Alberta kept pace in the fourth, but Ali Norris got a soft finger roll to drop, drew the foul and hit her subsequent free throw to give UBC a 53-51 lead with three minutes remaining.
Filewich went hard to the rim to draw even at 55-55, but the Pandas responded with a clutch jump shot from Aimee Wilson after a wild sequence that saw the two teams trade turnovers. Down 59-57, Huband called a timeout with 26.6 seconds left on the clock, but the Spotton was unable to convert over two Panda defenders. UBC quickly fouled Rogers who made her first free throw then missed the second, but Wilson grabbed a huge offensive rebound for the Pandas, icing the game.
The Thunderbirds will travel to Calgary next weekend to face the 2-10 Mount Royal Cougars.
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds