Matt Packwood, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON – The host Brandon Bobcats struggled to find any momentum in the first quarter, which proved to be the difference as the Winnipeg Wesmen picked up an 87-63 win on Friday night.
The Bobcats hit just one shot from the floor in the opening frame to go down 24-6, a deficit that would not be overcome despite moments that saw the lead dramatically reduced.
Brandon got to within six points at the mid-point of the second, but Winnipeg used pressure on the defensive end and a quick transition game on the other end to run away with it in the fourth.
"I think it was the energy. Our warm-up really has a big play in how we come out, but we came out really strong with a really good energized warm-up," says Robyn Boulanger, who finished with 24 points and eight rebounds.
Boulanger attributed her team's strong start to wanting to turn things around after a lackluster start to the season.
"Our first half didn't really go as we wanted, so we're really hungry for these wins and we really want to make playoffs so that is our mindset, so we need a certain amount of wins to get there so that's our mindset right now," Boulanger adds.
Faith Hezekiah was outstanding for the Wesmen, registering a double-double, finishing with 26 points (22 of which came in the first half) and 15 rebounds. Other leading scorers for Winnipeg were Farrah Castillo (17 points) and Jessica Dyck (10 points).
Brandon was led by Hailey Maas' team-high 18 points, while Lauren Anderson registered a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Adrianna Proulx added 12 points for the Bobcats.
The win gives Winnipeg some slight separation in the standings heading into Saturday's second-half of the home-and-home series with a record of 3-8. Brandon sits at 2-7 in conference standings, setting up a crucial game at the University of Winnipeg on Saturday.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 pm and can be seen live at www.canadawest.tv.
(Photo courtesy Milana Paddock)