Josh Tevlin; Dinos Communications
CALGARY – In a tightly fought battle through most of the evening, the University of Calgary Dinos fell short in their season opener, dropping an 81-76 decision to the defending Canada West champion Regina Cougars on Friday night at the Jack Simpson Gym.
Both teams came into the game with a reputation for strong defence, but in the first game of the season, it was the offences that stood out. Calgary held a lead as large as 10 in the first quarter, but Regina hung around and got an impressive performance from Kyanna Giles, who finished with 29 points and nine rebounds.
"Down the stretch, it was a shame because I thought the defence stepped up, but they made some big shots and played through Kyanna, which is what they do," said Dinos bench boss Damian Jennings.
The first quarter fell heavily in favour of the Dinos, who lead the Cougars 24-17, thanks in part to some strong outshooting as they made half their three-point attempts.
"When the game started off, I think defensively we were just average but we were making shots," commented Jennings.
The Cougars crept back into the game in the second quarter, training by only one going into the halftime break.
Last year's U SPORTS bronze medallists continued pressing the Dinos, lead offensively by Kyanna Giles. The second team All-Canadian topped the Cougars with 22 points after 3 quarters, putting the Cougars up 59-55 going into the final quarter of play.
The fourth quarter came down to the wire and was a two-possession contest throughout. The Dinos managed to regain the lead late in the game, going up by one with 45 seconds left. But two costly miscues flipped the score in favour of the Cougars with Carolina Goncalves scoring the layup that put the visitors up for good.
The Dinos missed their final scoring chances of the night and ultimately fell in their season opener.
Kyanna Giles' big performance was countered offensively by Calgary's Erin McIntosh who ended the night with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds. Sascha Lichtenwald added 13 points off the bench for Calgary, while Kiki Knox picked up 11 points in her Canada West debut.
Michaela Kleisinger added 14 points for the Cougars, while Christina McCusker chipped in with 11.
Calgary and Regina will take the floor again on Saturday night with a 5 p.m. tip-off from the Jack Simpson Gym.
Photo by David Moll