Connor Hood, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - A 35-point third quarter, combined with 24 points from guard Vanessa Wild gave the Alberta Pandas a 81-58 win over the MacEwan Griffins in the season opener, Thursday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
"We really played with a lot of tempo and speed. We really pressured their guards, and created a lot of turnovers." said Wild after the win. "We really worked hard to move the ball with some pace tonight."
Third-year guard Emma Kary also poured in 17 points and nine rebounds, while Jenna Harpe added 17 off five three-pointers for the Pandas.
MacEwan was led by 11 points from Mackenzie Farmer, their only player who finished with double-digit points. The Griffins were plagued by turnovers, finishing the game with 28, compared to just 13 for Alberta. The Pandas also outscored the Girffins 32-3 in points off turnovers.
Tied 13-13 after the first quarter, Alberta's offence hit the jets in the second, outscoring their cross-town rivals 35-14. The Pandas made an astonishing 15 of their 18 shots in the second, including 11 points from Wild, and eight from Kary.
The Griffins coughed the ball up 11 times in the second quarter, while shooting just 5/15 from the floor.
"Our guards are doing a great job pushing the ball, and playing to our strengths." continued Wild. "It feels good to open the season with a win at home over MacEwan, and hopefully we carry that play over into the next one on Saturday."
Wild continued to lead the Pandas offensively in the second half, adding another six in the third, and seven in the fourth. MacEwan's play cleaned up considerably in the third quarter, but only managed to outscore the Pandas 17-16 in the third.
Alberta continued to play simple and clean basketball in the fourth to secure the win, shooting 44% in the fourth quarter. The Griffins, needing a massive fourth quarter to cut into the considerable Panda lead, mustered just 14 points on 3/11 shooting.
Both programs will finish their home-and-home series on Saturday, as the Griffins host the Pandas at noon.