Matt Packwood, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON, Man. – The Alberta Pandas used a strong second half to pick up a monumental win on Friday night, running to a 74-45 win over the host Brandon Bobcats.
It was a tale of two halves as the two teams traded blows for the first half but the second was one-sided as Alberta outscored Brandon 42-15 in the last two quarters.
The win was significant as it was Pandas' head coach Scott Edwards' 200th career win in conference play.
The win also moves Alberta's record to 11-2 and gets the Pandas one step closer to hosting a first round playoff series as the second half of the conference schedule heats up.
"I've been around a lot of great players on the teams in this program and I'm just lucky to be a part of this," says Edwards, deflecting the credit to players both past and present.
When asked what changed between the first half and the second Edwards credits his team's play on the defensive end.
"I just think our defense just picked up finally. I thought that BU did a great job of attacking early in this game, they got to the glass and they were very aggressive. Lauren (Anderson) is a tremendous player and she did a nice job for their team, but I just thought our intensity picked up and we found some way to make some energy plays," Edwards adds.
The Bobcats were able to keep pace for the first half, even taking a lead early in the second quarter that they would not relinquish until Megan Tywoniuk hit a three in the dying seconds of the frame.
The second half was a completely different story as the Pandas put pressure on the Bobcats, holding the 'Cats to 15 points in the half.
That proved to be the difference as Alberta effectively executed on the offensive end, running up 42 points in the second half on 45.7 per cent shooting from the floor.
The Pandas were led by Vanessa Wild's game-high 18 points while Tywoniuk tallied 15 points and Emma Kary finished with 12 points.
The Bobcats were led for the second straight game by Brandon product Josie Degagne who put up 13 points, while Lauren Anderson contributed a double-double registering 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The loss drops Brandon's record to 2-11 but will look to improve on Friday night's performance as the two teams meet again Saturday afternoon at the Brandon University Healthy Living Centre.
Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. CST and can be seen live at www.canadawest.tv.
Photo courtesy Milana Paddock