Braden Konschuh, Cougar Athletics
SASKATOON – The Winnipeg Wesmen trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half, but came storming back to register an 89-78 victory over the Alberta Pandas on Saturday night to clinch a third-place finish in the Canada West Final Four at the Physical Activity Centre on the University of Saskatchewan campus.
Alberta led 54-38 well into the third quarter, but Winnipeg changed the complexion of the game with a massive 20-3 run that was sparked by the play of Megan Noonan and Taylor Thorkelsson. And the Wesmen put it away in the fourth, scoring 10 consecutive points to go up 87-76 with just over a minute to go.
Megan Noonan piled up a game-high 25 points for Winnipeg, going 4-for-6 from three-point range and a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line in the win. Antoinette Miller added 22 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, while Faith Hezekiah scored 19 points and Lena Wenke finished with 10.
Maddie Rogers led Alberta with 16 points.
Both teams had the offence clicking in the first quarter, combining for a total of 49 points scored in the opening 10 minutes. Winnipeg shot 53% from the field in the first, while Alberta did much of its damage from the free throw line where the Pandas were 12-for-15. Rogers had eight points for Alberta, while Hezekiah had eight points and Miller scored seven to help Winnipeg take a 25-24 lead into the second.
Alberta went on a run to start the second, scoring the first eight points of the quarter with a run that included a triple by Sydney Kumar. Winnipeg got back to within four points after a three-pointer by Noonan with just over three minutes to go until halftime, but Alberta closed out the quarter with back-to-back threes by Emma Kary on its final two possessions to take a 45-36 lead into the break.
It looked like the momentum from those two Kary triples carried over into the third after a Megan Tywoniuk three capped a 9-2 run for Alberta that put the Pandas up 54-38, but Winnipeg responded in a big way. The Wesmen then went on their big 20-3 run to take their first lead since early in the second quarter, and the score stayed tight into the fourth until Winnipeg's 10-0 run over three minutes late in the ball game.
Besides the 16-point performance from Rogers, Alberta also had nine points from both Elle Hendershot and Kary. Briana Carlyon added seven points and tied Miller for the game high with 10 rebounds.