Rich Abney, UNBC Athletics
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - The University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves needed their veterans to step up, and they did just that, leading the TWolves to a 90-82 win over the University of Manitoba Bisons, Saturday, January 12th at the Charles Jago Northern Sports Centre.
Fourth-year Maria Mongomo led the charge for the Timberwolves in the opening quarter, shooting 6-7 from the field, including 3-3 from behind the three-point line for a quarter-high 15 points, and four rebounds. The home team held a 25-15 lead after ten minutes.
A strong second quarter from Friday's hero, Taylor Randall, helped the Bisons cut into the deficit. The third-year guard made a number of contested shots, and the score stood 45-36 at halftime.
The Bisons made it a game late in the third quarter, going on a 9-0 run to cap the stanza. A Tianna Mighty fast break layup gave Manitoba their first lead of the game with second left in the frame, after a pair of three-pointers from Emma Thompson. The strong offensive surge saw them come all the way back and take a 62-60 lead heading in to the final frame.
The Timberwolves came out firing to start the fourth, and led by Maria Mongomo, Madison Landry and Vasiliki Louka. The highest scoring trio in U SPORTS last season showed their offensive chops as the TWolves looked to seal a victory in front of their home crowd. Crucial points late in the game by Alina Shakirova helped the big three, and the score at the end of the night read 90-82 in favour of the Timberwolves.
"Three-point shooting is a massive part of our offence. We look to get inside and look for kick-outs. It's very important for our team to shoot well" said Emma Thompson.
The victory pushed the Timberwolves to 9-5 on the season, while the Bisons fall to 6-8 on the campaign. The Timberwolves will look to improve upon their record next weekend when they take on the University of Alberta.
"They are a phenomenal team, and they really stepped up tonight" said the Bisons' Emma Thompson, who made seven three-pointers.
"Manitoba is a tough team. They are hard on you defensively, and there are no easy buckets. They are a very good team, and their record doesn't show how good they truly are," said Vasiliki Louka of the Timberwolves.
Mongomo, Landry, and Louka combined for 68 points on the night, while fifth-year guard Abby Gibb had eight points and zero turnovers.
"We knew what went wrong last night, and we needed to fix it. We moved the ball very well tonight. Players didn't hold on to it for too long, and that helped us," said Louka.
Thompson paced the visitors offensively with 23 points and five assists, with help from Randall, who was good for 21 points and seven assists.