By Paul Cartledge, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON – A second consecutive fourth-quarter performance by the University of Alberta Pandas led to the team's fourth-straight win, earning a 68-59 decision and a weekend sweep over the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, Saturday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Third-year guard Emma Kary notched a game-high 20 points along with nine rebounds and three assists, also going a perfect 7-for-7 at the charity stripe. Fourth-year guard Vanessa Wild, crucial to the momentum swing in the final frame, tallied 14 points and seven boards while sophomore guard Jenna Harpe and third-year guard Megan Tywoniuk also cracked the double-digit point barrier with 13 and 10, respectively.
Fourth-year forward Katie Keith earned her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 15 rebounds while fourth-year guard Kacie Bosch added 12 points and nine boards.
Much like Friday's match between the two Alberta-based teams, the Pandas got the early jump with the first two buckets, but Lethbridge responded with seven straight points this time to claim their first lead.
Tied at 10-10, the Pronghorns got ahead again on the strength of free throws, but three straight points by third-year forward Brooklyn Legault had Alberta only down by two at the end of the first quarter.
A 10-3 run by Lethbridge to start the second increased their lead to as high as nine at 25-16, but Alberta countered with a 9-0 run, including six points by Harpe, to tie the game again. With time winding down in the first half, Keith's foul on Kary beyond the arc shoulder with 0.5 seconds left gave the Calgary native three chances at the charity stripe, Kary draining each one for a 32-28 Alberta lead heading into the locker room.
The Science student kept things going in the third quarter, her layup starting a 9-2 run for the home team but the Pronghorns, undefeated coming into the weekend, fought back with a 13-2 run to square things up on the scoreboard, fourth-year guard Nathania Takyi pushing Lethbridge up by two at the end of the third with a duo of successful free throws.
A Tywoniuk trey got the lead back moments into the final frame but then…the Pandas went Wild.
The Spruce Grove, Alta. native drained a bucket off the rush on a pass from third-year guard Lauren Earl before scoring five of the Pandas next seven points, including a layup off an end-to-end rush.
Down 61-56, the Pronghorns unfortunately started getting into foul trouble, most notably fourth-year guard Asnate Fomina who fouled out to give Kary four shots from the charity stripe to salt the game away.
Alberta improves to 6-2 on the season while Lethbridge falls to 4-2. The Pandas take a "bye" week next weekend before finishing the 2018 half of the regular season on the road against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack. The Pronghorns head back home to host the Winnipeg Wesmen on November 23-24.