Vikes work the inside game to cruise past Griffins

Vikes work the inside game to cruise past Griffins

Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics


EDMONTON — Victoria jumped into the driver's seat to start the game and put their foot on the gas.


MacEwan didn't have the horsepower to stay with them this time.


Showing an array of everything that wins basketball games, the Vikes cruised to the finish line with a 74-52 win on Saturday night at City Centre Campus to complete a weekend sweep of the Griffins.


The contest was a complete contrast to Friday when Victoria needed a late surge in the fourth quarter to solve it, a 68-61 win.


"I thought we did a good job yesterday of taking away their inside game," said MacEwan head coach Katherine Adams, whose team falls to 2-4 on the Canada West season. "(Tonight) they did a good job of getting it inside and we didn't commit to our game plan early to get it out of their hands.


"If you don't commit to it early, you lose a bit of trust of whether your teammates are there or not, whether you're in it or not. It kind of bit us in the butt a little bit."


Victoria dominated the inside all game, getting 17 points and seven rebounds from 5-11 forward Jenna Bugiardini, while 6-1 Nicole Karstein seemed unstoppable at times, nearly recording a double double with 16 points and nine boards.


"We were just trying to get ball reversal and go back in," said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair, whose team improves to 4-2. "Our four and our five are two of our stronger players. So we talked about that today, putting an emphasis on getting the ball into them.


"I thought we moved the ball a lot better," she added. "They were blocking the paint defensively both last night and tonight. We moved the ball a little better. It was a good team win, too. We had some good contributions from the bench."


In the first quarter, the Griffins did a nice job of finding the open woman inside for lots of layups. Victoria found success the same way, mixing in a three from Amira Giannattasio – part of her 15-point night (on 3-for-6 shooting from behind the arc) — that was the difference in a 19-16 Victoria lead after the opening 10 minutes.


In the second quarter, the Vikes took control by blocking off the inside and showing off a lethal kick inside that continued to beat the Griffins. Kayla Ivicak did her part with three steals in the quarter, but the trademark intense MacEwan defence was laying low.


On the offensive side, the Griffins couldn't buy a shot, putting up three in a row at one point that rattled inside the rim and out.


The result was as if the Vikes hit the nitrous oxide as they jumped out to a commanding 43-29 lead at the half.


"Overall, I thought we didn't commit to it," said Adams. "We didn't have enough people committing to getting touches and getting steals and getting the right rotations.


"We know we're undersized. We know we have to do something different in order to get the ball out of bigs' hands, in order to run shooters off the three-point line and force them to make an extra pass. And we just didn't commit to it today. We had one or two try to get it going, but there wasn't enough people jumping on board to get that done."


After falling behind by as much as 15, the Griffins pulled to within 10 late in the third quarter after starting to display shades of the intense defence that took down No. 1-ranked Regina a week ago.


But that, too, fizzled out as Victoria just shot through it, hitting from everywhere … and at any time like in the mid fourth quarter when Marissa Dheensaw turned and fired a prayer at the end of the shot clock that swished.


Meanwhile, MacEwan's best efforts continued to rattle out and threes were off the mark.


"That's just the luck sometimes," said Adams, shaking her head. "They had one a girl puts up with her left hand fading away at the end of the shot clock and we get a nice layup under the rim uncontested. Theirs goes in and ours doesn't. That's the way things happen sometimes. You've got to be good to be lucky."


Kendall Lydon again led the Griffins in scoring with 15 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Ivicak chipped in 12 points, four steals and five rebounds and Kerilynn MacLennan bucketed 11.


Next up for the Griffins is a road trip to Calgary to face Mount Royal Nov. 24-25. Meanwhile, the Vikes will head home to host UBC on Nov. 25-26.