Aneesa Heatherington/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER -- UBC head coach Deb Huband earned her 300th league win with a spirited 73-66 Thunderbirds victory over the Brandon Bobcats. Game 2 between the 'Birds and Bobcats was an aggressive and competitive contest from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer.
"Three hundred, or one, or two hundred…I'm just happy we got the win," said Huband. "We had to battle back for this one and it didn't come easy, so it feels good to be on the right track. It wasn't on my mind – I was more focused on how we were going to get it done."
Maddison Penn lead the T-Birds with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Kara Spotton scored 12 and picked up eight boards. Jessica Hanson notched 13 points and three rebounds, icing the game on a pair of free throws.
"It came right down to the end," said Hanson. "We were really gritty and came together as a team…it wasn't pretty. We just had to take a deep breath and stay composed."
Keisha Cox was a standout for the Bobcats, earning a double-double – finishing with a team-high 16 points, 11 rebounds and an impressive six steals.
The Bobcat's full-court press was highly effective, but Penn spread the floor – going coast-to-coast for one of her 10 points in the quarter. Brandon's Keegan Robinson responded with a circus three-ball that dropped for the hoop and the harm to give the Bobcats an early 7-6 lead. With the shot clock winding down, Shilpa Khanna fired for three to finish the first down 21-19.
Brandon went on a 6-0 run to start the second quarter before Penn got to the charity stripe and hit both free throws. Spotton then snatched a rebound and sprung Hanson to cash it in for three. Hanson's second three of the quarter drew the 'Birds to within two at 29-27.
Down 36-35, Spotton snagged a steal and layed it in to retake the lead. Penn hit her first three to extend the T-Bird advantage, but the Bobcats kept grinding – picking up a steal of their own to close out the half down 38-40.
Hanson nailed a three to start the third, but Cox grabbed her fourth steal for Brandon and converted a pretty euro-step to give the Bobcats a 44-43 lead. The visiting side continued to charge ahead 58-55 heading into the final frame.
UBC reclaimed the lead 59-58 on a Penn fadeaway, but the clash continued with the teams trading twos. Tied 62-62 with 4:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, Krysten Lindquist showed off her quick hands with two steals and three quick buckets to go ahead 68-62. The Thunderbird defence stood their ground and held off Brandon for a 73-66 victory to sweep the weekend set.
"We're moving in the right direction," said Huband. "We have four more league games to make sure we're peaking at the right time. It's pretty special. I'm lucky to coach at UBC…I'm living the dream."
The Thunderbirds host UNBC in their final two home games of the regular season on Friday and Saturday at War Memorial Gym.
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds