Alyssa Etsell, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG – Strong defence in the third quarter accelerated the UBC Thunderbirds to a 71-63 win against the University of Manitoba Bisons, and a weekend spilt, on Saturday night (Nov. 10) at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
In a game dominated by strong defence, Thunderbirds head coach Deb Huband said the third quarter made the difference.
"It was a similar game to last night, high energy game with lots of transition, good tempo," she said.
The loss dropped Manitoba's record to 5-1 and ended their five-game winning streak.
"A weekend split was good, they were two really close games," said Michele Sung, Bisons head coach. "I hope it kind of grows that seed of belief that we can compete with top teams in our conference."
Bisons Taylor Randall netted 21 points, while Nicole Konieczny netted 29; together tallying 50 points for the Herd.
A Maddison Penn three-point swish in the fourth made a difference as the Thunderbirds tried to maintain their lead. Nicole Konieczny made an epic three-pointer that brought the Bisons within two points of taking control for the first time in the second half.
Midway through the last quarter, with the score tied, Keylyn Filewich went two for two on free-throw attempts to capture the lead for the visitors once again. Penn made a crucial dunk with just over one minute left in the game to push the T-Birds lead to four.
In the third, the Bisons struggled to net points against a UBC defensive wall. A late three-pointer pushed the T-birds into the last quarter with a nine-point lead.
With the win, UBC improved their record to 3-3. Jess Hanson and Hailey Counsell each contributed 14 points each to the final tally.
A drive late in the second quarter lessened the gap between the two teams, the visitors scoring just eight points after an opening three-pointer from Gabrielle Laguerta pushed UBC's lead to 30. The Bisons fought to go into the second half trailing by just one (38-37).
Early in the first quarter, neither team could run up the score by anything greater than three points. Late, a surge from the T-Birds pushed them to a six-point lead going into the second quarter (27-21).
What's next for the Thunderbirds?
"We're a young team, we finally have some fourth-year players so we're happy about that and every week at practice gives us an opportunity to be better," said Huband.
Next for UBC, they'll be home on Nov. 16, 2018 when they face Thompson Rivers. The game starts at 6 p.m. PST. Manitoba will play next at Regina on Nov. 16, game time at 12 p.m. CST. You can catch both match-ups live on CanadaWest.tv.