Aaron Lai, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE - Following a disappointing weekend split against the Winnipeg Wesmen, the Lethbridge Pronghorns women's basketball team looked to prove they are a team to be feared in Canada West as they faced the No. 8 Calgary Dinos. The Pronghorns would enter the fourth quarter trailing by 20 points, but a furious comeback would be stopped just short as Lethbridge would fall to the Dinos 77-73 in the front half of a home-and-home series.
With the win the Dinos improve to 8-3 on the season, while the Pronghorn fall to 5-4.
A strong 8-0 run to open the final quarter would create hope for the Pronghorns, as they forced three Calgary turnovers and a jump ball in the span of three minutes. The Dinos would answer, rebuilding a 16 point lead, before the 'Horns would begin their final push.
A strong defensive play by Asnate Fomina would pave the way for a Pronghorns stop and Fomina would follow up by finding an open Kacie Bosch on the three point line. Bosch would fake past the defender and drive baseline, finishing a tough layup to trim the Dinos lead to seven. On the Dinos inbound, the 'Horns would force a steal. Isabel Rattai would find a streaking Fomina who would hit a three pointer to cut the lead to four.
A quick two would put the Pronghorns within one score with less than 10-seconds remaining, forcing them to foul. The Dinos would put the game away at the free throw line, with the Horns unable to find a shot on their ensuing possession.
Bosch had an outstanding game as is routine, finishing with 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting. Katie Keith dominated on the glass, picking up 14 rebounds, while Asnate Fomina had 14 points and 4 steals.
The Dinos saw four players finish in double digits, including Sascha Lictenwald (15 points, 3 of 4 from three), Erin McIntosh (18 points, 6 rebounds), Liene Stalidzane (11 points), and Kiki Knox (10 points).
Second-year Pronghorn Amy Mazutinec opened up the game's scoring with a slick euro-step layup, which set the tone for the most of the first quarter to be played in the paint. Both teams traded mid-range shots, and dribble drive layups for the first six minutes of the game, before the Dinos' Bobbi Jo Colburn was able to knock down the game's first three. The Dinos would work hard to create separation, opening up a six point lead which the Pronghorns were able to cut to four (22-18) thanks to a score on their final possession of the frame. Both teams shot exceptionally well, with the Dinos shooting 57% (8 of 14), and the Horns shooting 47% (8 of 17).
The Pronghorns would open the second quarter on a 5-0 run, thanks to a quick bucket by none other than Bosch, followed by a three from Keith. Following that, both teams would pick up their play on defense, as only five points would be scored in the next four minutes.
The action opened up in the final five minutes of the quarter, with the Dinos opening up an eight point lead in the late stages of the quarter, before the Pronghorns would once again score on their final possession of the quarter, to cut the lead to six, 40-34. The Dinos shot the ball from three at an exceptional rate, hitting seven of their 13 attempts. Fourth-year guard Sascha Lictenwald led her team with three triples in the half.
The Dinos would come out in the third quarter attacking aggressively, pushing the ball up the floor and finding open shooters. Calgary would open up an eleven point lead midway through the third frame, thanks to their aggressive play. Calgary would carry this play throughout the third, outscoring the Pronghorns 27 to 13 and finishing the quarter with a 67-47 lead.
Despite the 20 point deficit, the Pronghorns made it a game in the fourth quarter, but the comeback would just fall short.
The Pronghorns and Dinos will run it back Saturday night in Calgary to finish their weekend series. Tip off is set for 5 p.m. MT in the Jack Simpson Gym.
Photo by: MPP Photography