Zachary Worden, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY, Alta – The Mount Royal Cougars and Manitoba Bisons tipped-off the second game of their weekend series Saturday afternoon at Kenyon Court.
After a 91-63 victory in the first game of the series, the Bisons were able to take the second game 79-53.
The Bisons were led by strong performances from Nicole Konieczny and Taylor Randall. Konieczny scored 16 points and collected 13 rebounds for a double-double, while Randall had 13 points and three steals, playing a strong two-way game.
Abbey Gillette had another big all-around game for the Cougars finishing with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks. Charity Marlatt was huge for the Cougars all game on the boards, grabbing eight in total, seven on the offensive end.
Both teams came out aggressively on defense forcing early turnovers and keeping the scoring low in the early minutes of the first. The Bisons were able to take an early lead using ball movement to work the ball inside and convert the layups into points. The Cougars combined their aggressive defense and 50% shooting for the quarter to put pressure on the Bisons and keep the game tight. A three-pointer by 3 with eight seconds remaining gave the Bisons a 22-13 advantage heading into the second quarter.
The Cougars came into the quarter and crashed the offensive boards creating extra possessions as they looked to cut into the Bison lead. Both teams found success on the offensive end, trading baskets as neither team could take control of the quarter. The Cougars were able to go on a 4-0 run to end the quarter, keeping the Bison lead at 10 going into halftime. Leading the Bisons in the half was 3, who finished with 13 points and three assists in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Bisons came into the second half and worked their way to the free-throw line early to score their points in the quarter. The Cougars came into the half with lots of energy and continued to own the offensive glass. 10 led the Bisons offensive attack in the quarter, scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds. The Bisons shot 11 free-throws in the quarter, converting 55% of their attempts. The Cougars were able to find good looks by working the ball inside, but couldn't get their shots to fall. Heading into the final quarter of the play, the Bisons led 63-40.
The fourth quarter started with Cougars finding open shots, but the rims weren't in favour of Cougar shooters for the night as they couldn't find the bottom of the net. The Bisons started the fourth on a 12-0 run, taking control of the game. Despite the Bison run, the Cougars continued to battle looking to cut into the lead and get back into the game. The Cougars extended their defense full-court and looked to run in transition as they responded to the Bison run with a 13-4 run of their own to end the game.
Both teams are back in action next weekend as the Cougars will welcome the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack to town for a weekend series and the Bisons will return home to host the Brandon Bobcats. Both series will be streamed live on www.canadawest.com.