Prince George, B.C.
The UNBC Timberwolves knew they had to take care of their own end of the court against a dangerous Mount Royal Cougars squad. They did just that, holding the visiting Cougars to just twenty-four points in each half on the way to a 70-48 victory.
A gritty first quarter had the game scoreless until the 5:49 mark, when Vasiliki Louka opened the scoring for the Timberwolves. From there, guard Stacey Graham provided much of the UNBC offense in the quarter, going two for two from beyond the arc. After ten minutes, the TWolves held an 11-4 advantage.
Mount Royal made offensive adjustments heading into the second quarter, scoring twenty points, fuelled by Marina Kehrig's seven. The Timberwolves focus on MRU leading-scorer Becky Nash was evident, holding the six-foot-four post to just two points in the half. She would finish with four points. Heading into the second half, Sergey Shchepotkin's squad led 26-24.
"We tried to not let her touch the ball. We focused on setting up in front of her and trying to prevent her from getting the ball," said Graham. "We tried to immediately double-team her when she did get it."
Defense continued to be the name of the game in quarter three, as the Timberwolves increased their intensity around their own hoop. Back to back three pointers by Madison Landry and Maria Mongomo pushed the Timberwolves to 12-0 run late in the quarter. UNBC held a 46-32 advantage with one quarter to play.
Fifth-year guard Stacey Graham started the fourth on fire from beyond the arc, making back to back three's to stretch the Timberwolves' advantage to eighteen. UNBC held the Cougars to twelve points in the quarter on their way to a 70-48 decision.
Mount Royal coach Nathan McKibbon said the Timberwolves physical play was the difference.
"They played the way the game was being called, and that was exceptionally physical. We obviously have to find a way to respond in kind. That's an awfully big team. They focus on their posts. We got good shots early, but just didn't make them."
Graham continued to her torrid pace, scoring fifteen points off the bench for her fifth consecutive game with output in the double-figures. All her offense came on three-pointers, but she gave credit to her team.
"My teammates are finding me with the ball. It's feeling really good. I've worked hard to put myself in this position. It feels really great to see my accomplishments.
The win improves UNBC's record to 4-9, while Mount Royal falls to 2-9. The rematch is set for Saturday, January 14th at the Northern Sport Centre.