Cameron Doherty, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – A 37-point third quarter, 16 of which came from Amira Giannattasio, powered the UVic Vikes women's basketball team past the Lethbridge Pronghorns 84 to 59 on Friday night, inside the CARSA Performance Gym.
For the entire third quarter the Vikes played near perfect basketball. 16 points from Giannattasio and a futher 13 from Jenna Bugiardini led the way for the Vikes, as they ended the quarter on a 30-3 run. It wasn't just the offence that was perfect in the quarter though, lockdown defence from the Vikes erased any chance the Pronghorns had of staying in the game.
"When we can get stops, steals and rebounds that is when we are in our wheelhouse with kids who can play in transition and obviously with the way Amira can shoot the ball," said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair.
Giannattasio led all scorers with 30 points on the night while going seven-for-nine from beyond the arc. Bugiardini poured in 26 of her own on 12-for-17 shooting from the field and three other Vikes scored six points.
"3 (Giannattasio) and 13 (Bugiardini) ate us for breakfast, they were clearly the best players on the floor tonight," said Pronghorns head coach Dave Adams. "We knew they were good players but we have to do a better job defensively."
Zoe Dahl willed the Pronghorns back into the game at times, scoring 18 points on six-for-11 shooting. Kathryn Hankins added 13 points and Katie Keith picked up eight points and six rebounds.
It was Lethbridge that came out of the gates the hotter of the two teams. They used some tight defence and clutch shooting from Dahl to jump out to an 11-2 lead, five minutes into the game.
When the Vikes offence started to click, it really started to click. A big push led by Bugiardini got the Vikes back into the game and a 6-0 Vikes run in the last minute of quarter number one gave them a 17-16 lead after the first.
The Vikes momentum carried over into the start of the second quarter, when Giannattasio started to heat up from beyond the arc, nailing two three-pointers in quick succession.
The Pronghorns refused to go away however, using tough defence to battle their way back from a ten-point deficit to cut the Vikes lead to 37-33 at the half.
The third quarter will be one fans of the Vikes remember for a long time.
Neither Giannattasio nor Bugiardini could miss, as the Vikes pulled away, kept pulling away, and then put the game away well before the start of the fourth quarter.
"There were no adjustments from the coaching staff, it was just us being more focussed, we were very flat to start the game and we weren't following the scouting report," said Sinclair. "We started making a more concerted effort to take people's strengths away and play more focussed."
"We have a couple girls right now that spark us defensively and when Marissa Dheensaw is leading by example it fuels everybody else to do it."
The win moves the Vikes to 9-4 on the season, and extends their winning streak to 5. The Pronghorns remain in a dogfight for a final playoff spot in the Canada West conference at 4-11.
These same two teams will do battle on the hardcourt of the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria tomorrow night, the 21, at 5 pm. Both games can be watched live on canadawest.tv
"We have to do a better job defensively," said Adams. "Tomorrow night we need to come out, deal with their pressure and not turn the ball over nearly as much."
UVIC: 17-20-37-10: 84
LETH: 16-17-9-17: 59
UVIC: Amira Giannattasio (30), Jenna Bugiardini (26), Nicole Karstein (6)
LETH: Zoe Dahl (18), Kathryn Hankins (13), Katie Keith (8)