Andy Watson / Photos by Erich Eichhorn (www.allsportmedia.ca)
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team dropped a 72-67 decision to the Under-18 Japanese national team at Ken and Kathy Shields Court at McKinnon Gymnasium on New Year’s Day.
Debbie Yeboah of Winnipeg led UVic with 13 points, adding nine rebounds in a scrappy performance. However Yeboah and the Vikes guards committed 18 turnovers – Yeboah had six – allowing Japan to score 26 points off giveaways in the win.
Natalie Janssens had seven points and nine rebounds while Cassandra Goodis added nine boards in the loss. Both teams had great contributions from the bench with 29 points from non starters for each team.
Japan was led by the hot shooting of Kanako Masuoka who never hesitated when she had an open look. The guard had a game-high 15 points, adding an assist and steal in the game. Ayano Sekine and Akie Hayasaka added 11 points each for the Japanese.
Vikes #4 Jessica Renfrew wrestles the ball from Kanako Masuoka. – Erich Eichhorn photo ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Vikes #11 Allison Mulock grabs a stripped Japanese ball from Kanako Masuaka. – Erich Eichhorn photo ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Vikes Cassandra Goodis had her hands full against #18 Kanako Masuoka. The Vikes starting guards turned over the ball 12 times against a tenacious Japanese team. – Erich Eichhorn photo ( www.allsportmedia.ca)
Vikes Deborah Yeboah score two of her thirteen points getting past driving past Japan’s Yuki Kitamura. – Erich Eichhorn photo (www.allsportmedia.ca)
In a low-scoring opening half, just five points were scored in the first five minutes with Japan enjoying the lead from the opening basket. They led 24-20 at the break, playing solid defence and forcing a number of turnovers in the Vikes backcourt (10 turnovers were committed by UVic guards). Twenty-six of the game’s 44 first-half points were off 32 turnovers committed by both teams.
Sarah Semeniuk of Fruitvale, B.C., was the brightest spot for the host Vikes with seven of the team’s 20 first-half points off the bench. She finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
The teams switched courts to start the second half after a water leak in McKinnon Gymnasium deemed the surface to be unsafe. The Vikes used the change in scenery to take their first lead of the game at 33-32 and led 51-50 after three quarters.
But the Vikes gave Japan a number of easy points from the free-throw line early in the fourth, allowing Japan to enjoy a 22-16 cushion in the final 10 minutes en route to victory.
The Vikes (5-3) resume Canada West regular season play on Jan. 6 at 6 p.m. when they host the Saskatchewan Huskies. UVic also hosts the Alberta Pandas on Jan. 7 at 5 p.m. Both games are at McKinnon Gymnasium.
JAPAN 15 9 26 22 – 72
UVIC 9 11 31 16 – 67
Top Scorers: Japan-Kanako Masuoka 15 points; UVic-Debbie Yeboah 13 points, nine rebounds