No. 2 T-Birds too much for McGill

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UBC Thunderbirds

QUARTER-FINAL #1: CIS women’s basketball championship

CALGARY (ISN) – In the first game of the 2012 CIS women’s basketball championship, the second-seeded University of British Columbia Thunderbirds became the first team to advance to the semifinals by defeating the No. 7 McGill Martlets 65-43 on Saturday afternoon at the University of Calgary’s Jack Simpson Gym.

Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wbkb/index 

Coming off their seventh conference title in program history, the victory in the quarter-final gives UBC a date with either No. 3 Ottawa or No. 6 Saskatchewan in Sunday’s first semifinal at 5 p.m. Mountain, live on Shaw TV, NBA TV Canada and ssncanada.ca.

McGill, the RSEQ champions who entered the Final 8 with a 17-12 overall record, will now face either Ottawa or Saskatchewan in a consolation contest Sunday at 12 p.m. MT.

Fifth-year forward Zara Huntley was named player of the game by recording a double-double. The Halifax, N.S., native had 18 points, including 12 on field goals, to go along with 11 rebounds. She led UBC with six offensive rebounds.

Leigh Stansfield of Victoria picked up 13 points while Kristjana Young of Vancouver had seven in a supporting role to Huntley’s big game. Young was the top rebounder for the Thunderbirds with 12.

“I thought our size really became a factor on the glass today” said Thunderbirds head coach Deb Huband, who is in her 17th year with UBC. “We had some good passing plays between our posts and our defence really stepped it up.”

The Martlets suffered from some early jitters while the Thunderbirds were able to open up an early lead and held a 19-10 advantage after the first quarter. The Canada West champions extended their lead in the next quarter as they were in front 35-21 at half.

The first half’s biggest difference was the teams’ ability to drain shots. UBC was able to bury 38.9% of their field goal attempts while their opposition were held to just five of 29. The Thunderbirds also notched 20 of their 35 first half points from in the paint, compared to the Martlets who picked up only two.

RSEQ rookie of the year, Dianna Ros of Montreal had a team high 12 points for McGill. The Martlets got strong rebounding from Panama native Anneth Him-Lazarenko and Françoise Charest of Quebec City, who each had seven boards.

“They were really tough on the boards and hurt us there” explained McGill head coach Ryan Throne. “I also didn’t think we shot particularly well.”

Despite holding a comfortable lead, the Thunderbirds continued to play aggressively on the ball and would eventually control the score by 23 points going into the final quarter. Things would follow a similar direction in the fourth as UBC continued to put on the pressure all over the court.

McGill’s shooting problems translated over to the second half as they continued to have problems putting away attempts. The Martlets only had two field goals in the third before picking up five of their 11 field goals in the game in the final quarter.

“I thought our girls did a good job on learning and making some adjustments as the game went along,” explained Huband on her team’s effort to handle an unfamiliar opponent in McGill.

UBC finished the game with 32 points in the paint and another 24 on second chance shooting. Both squads got 13 points off the bench.

Overall, the Thunderbirds out-rebounded their opponent 59-39 and maintained a 37.1 field goal percentage, compared to 18.3 for McGill.

STAT LEADERS

Boxscore: –

UBC

Points: Zara Huntley (18), Leigh Stansfield (13), Alexandra Vieweg (8)

Rebounds: Kris Young (12), Zara Huntley (11)

Assists: Kris Young (8)

Player of the game: Zara Huntley

McGill

Points: Dianna Ros (8), Valérie L’Écuyer (7), Natalie Larocque (7)

Rebounds: Anneth Him-Lazarenko (7), Françoise Charest (7)

Assists: Françoise Charest (3)

Player of the game: Dianna Ros

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