WBB: Cougars fall to UNBC in home opener

WBB: Cougars fall to UNBC in home opener

Zachary Worden, Cougar Athletics

CALGARY, Alta – The Mount Royal University Cougars and University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves kicked off the 2018/19 basketball season Friday night at Kenyon Court.

The Timberwolves put on a strong offensive performance and came away with a 93-61 win. They were successful working the ball inside and making their way to the free throw line and converting once they got there. They finished the game with 28 free throw attempts, converting 23 for 82%.

The Timberwolves were led by big games from Madison Landry, Maria Mongomo and Vasiliki Louka who all scored over 20 points. Mongomo was also active on the glass and defensive end finishing with 10 rebounds and four steals. While Louka ended up with a double-double of her own grabbing 12 rebounds.

The Cougars were led in scoring by Kansas Long, who had 11 points in her first ever U SPORTS game. Sarah Rinsky, Maddison Hooper and Sydney Tabin all added eight points to the Cougars effort on the offensive end. The team's defensive pressure made an impact throughout the game and finished with 11 steals and forced 22 turnovers.

Despite the Cougars controlling the pace of the game early, the Timberwolves broke out to an early lead thanks to the work inside of Louka and getting some early trips to the free throw line.

The Cougars relentless offence continued attacking throughout the first quarter but just couldn't get some open looks to fall. They ended up getting 21 shots up through the first 10 minutes, including 10 three-point attempts.

Once the first quarter came to an end, the Timberwolves led 23-8. The Timberwolves lived at the free-throw line, converting on 11 of 12 attempts to start the game.

The Timberwolves really hit their stride in the second quarter and found success driving to the basket and finishing at the rim. Mongomo took control early and often in the quarter, scoring 10 points in the quarter, making four of her five shots.

At half the Cougars were led by Hooper who contributed on both the offensive and defensive ends, with eight points, two blocks and one steal. Tabin also made her impact felt in the first half, grabbing four offensive rebounds and scoring four points.

The Timberwolves three double-digit scorers all had 10 or more points through the first 20 minutes. Landry led with 15, Mongomo had her 10 points in the second quarter and Louka ended the first half with 14 points and seven rebounds.

Coming out of the halftime break, the Cougars increased their defensive pressure, speeding up the game for the Timberwolves' offence and forcing turnovers that led to a couple easy baskets, getting the crowd engaged at Kenyon Court. The Cougars defence ended up forcing five turnovers in the quarter.

Once the Timberwolves adjusted to the Cougars pressure, the two teams proceeded to go up and down the court, trading baskets as neither team shrink or grow the lead.

After a pair of free throws for Mongomo to end the third, the Timberwolves' led 69-37 heading into the fourth.

The Cougars didn't give up coming into the fourth, they showed fight right from the beginning of the quarter and ended up scoring seven of the first 10 points scored in the quarter.

Despite the Cougars giving their best effort right to the final buzzer, the Timberwolves were able to sustain their lead throughout the quarter.

The two teams will be back in action Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. MDT at Kenyon Court to finish the two-game series. The game will be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv.