Matt Packwood, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON – A first half slugfest turned into a one-sided fight in the second half as the Manitoba Bisons beat the host Brandon Bobcats 97-84 on Friday night.
Taylor Randall and Nicole Konieczny combined for 63 points in the in the Canada West season opener for both teams.
The Bisons picked up a five-point win in the pre-season three weeks ago at the University of Winnipeg BOB FM Tournament, and while Friday's conference opener had a wider margin of victory, it felt like a far closer game.
The teams traded blows through-out the first half before the Bisons jumped to a 7-0 run early in the third before extending their lead to 10 at 62-52 late in the third.
The Bobcats were beat on a few match-ups that led to uncontested buckets for Manitoba through-out the second half, but Brandon would not go away as they mounted a late come-back to get it within two points at 82-80 with just under three minutes left in the fourth.
The Bisons responded with back-to-back clutch three pointers from Randall and Konieczny that gave the Herd a 93-82 lead with less than a minute left.
Those shots sealed the deal for the Bisons and provided the cushion they needed to hold on.
Randall had a game-high 33 points, including a red-hot 7-for-10 from beyond the arc, while Konieczny had an outstanding night, registering a double-double with 30 points and 16 rebounds.
"It feels great to start the season off like that, especially in previous years it hasn't always been that pretty for us," said Randall.
"To get a road win to start the season sets the tone for how we want to play, so if we play a team game and commit like this all year we should be good," Randall adds.
Lauren Anderson had a strong night for the Bobcats, contributing a team-high 26 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Adrianna Proulx shattered her previous career high of 15 points with 25 points on 11-for-19 shooting from the floor. Hailey Maas also finished in double-digit scoring with 21 points.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday in the rematch of the weekend series with tip-off coming at 5 pm at the Brandon University Healthy Living Centre.
(Photo courtesy Milana Paddock)