DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
Faith Hezekiah got out of the gates early and had the Brandon Bobcats chasing for the rest of the night.
Hezekiah scored 24 of her 35 points in the first half — including 18 of the team's first 25 — and the Winnipeg Wesmen women's basketball team hung on for a 74-65 win over the Bobcats in a Canada West conference game Saturday night at the Duckworth Centre.
Hezekiah has put up numbers all season, scoring in double figures in all 12 conference matches (and 15 straight dating back to last season), but Saturday she outdid herself.
Her 35 points were a career-high and her 12 rebounds gave her her 25th career double-double and moved her into a tie for seventh all-time in Canada West history.
Hezekiah has also scored 30-plus in four games this season, a conference high.
"We are very pleased to go into the break on a win versus a tough, hard-working Brandon team that played to the bitter end," Wesmen head coach Tanya McKay said. "We have played seven of our last 10 games on the road and put thousands of kilometres on our bodies, so being able to finish this very difficult first half of the season on two wins give us motivation to get better. We have work to do over the next five weeks but we are very pleased with our young team and the growth they have shown."
The win was McKay's 499th overall victory of her coaching career, which started in 1996. She will have a chance to secure win No. 500 on home floor during the annual Wesmen Classic, Dec. 28-30.
The Bobcats, who trailed 40-31 at the half and fell behind by 11 to start the third, got the lead down to eight before hitting a dry spell. After a Kylie Weckend made it three brought Brandon to 42-34 down, the Wesmen went on a 15-2 run over the next 5:06 to stretch the lead to 21.
"Compared to last night, definitely," Bobcats head coach Novell Thomas said when asked about his team's grit versus a night earlier in an 87-63 defeat. "We had some players who stepped up, which was great. Josie (DeGagne) came in off the bench and hit some big shots from us, and hopefully that will put pressure on others to step up their game and look to get better."
Winnipeg committed just five turnovers to Brandon's 15.
The Bobcats (2-8) were led by Lauren Anderson's 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Weckend finished with 12 points, Adrianna Proulx had a team-high 10 rebounds and DeGagne added 11 points in 15 minutes off the bench.
Photo: Shanlee McLennan/Wesmen Athletics