Rennie’s late bucket lifts Vikes over No. 2 Cougars in home thriller

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Story By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications – Photos By Erich Eichhorn (ISN)

January 19, 2013, Victoria, BC – The CIS No. 9-ranked University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team upset the No. 2 Regina Cougars 61-58 on home court on Jan. 18. The Vikes improve to a 9-4 record, while silencing the Cougars’ 11-game undefeated streak to drop them to an 11-2 record in the Canada West.

The Vikes found fuel from fifth-year guard Debbie Yeboah (Winnipeg, MB) who closed the night out with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds. Rookie Tessla Rennie (Red Lodge, MT) scored the winning bucket to tally 15 points and five rebounds, while fellow first-year Jenna Bugiardini (Hamilton, ON) was gritty in both ends to earn 12 points.

DR6F1475vrUvic Vikes Womens basketball team, 8-4 on the season downed the tough 11-1 Regina Cougars  Friday night at MacKinnon Gym winning 61-58 – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

For the Cougars, fourth-year Michelle Clark scored 22 points and earned three steals, while veteran Brittany Read earned 12 points and six rebounds.

The two CIS Top 10 teams wasted no time getting into action, as the quick pace was evident in the opening seconds. The Vikes surprised the Cougars with a quick 7-0 run sparked by Yeboah, who finished the quarter with 11 points. Home court advantage seemed to lift the Vikes early, as Victoria shot 47 per cent from the field and earned five second-chance points to take the strong 21-12 lead at the end of the first.

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Vikes Cassandra Goodis drives past Cougars Kehlsie Crone. Goodis would have a tough night shooting, but record a game high 9 assists – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Following the quick break the veteran-heavy Cougars tightened up their defence and suffocated the Vikes into allowing Regina a 10-0 run. Clark hit a timely, distance shot to tie the game at 26 and followed it up with a coast-to-coast run to grab the lead for the first time in the game. UVic’s Rennie responded immediately with a jumper but a successful free throw from Megan Chamberlain pushed the Cougars up 29-28 entering half time.

DR6F1862Vikes Debbie Yeboah goes one on on with Danielle Schmidt on her way to the rim. Yeboah would lead all Vikes with seventeen points on 7-20 shooting from the field – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The tight race continued throughout the third as the home side edged the Cougars 16-14 in scoring. Bugiardini put up a few much-needed buckets to tilt the score 44-43 in the Vikes’ favour entering the fourth.

Final drama held out for the final minute of the game when a pair from the line by Lindsay Ledingham put the Cougars trailing by one. A speedy Yeboah crafted her way into the key and with a behind-the-back move freed up Rennie. Rennie drained the put-back in the paint to give the Vikes the final 61-58 win.

DR6F1907Vikes forward Jenna Bugiardini shakes off her Cougar check on her way to the paint – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The upset lifts the Vikes to a 9-5 record, while the Cougars regroup after suffering their first loss since their opener against Saskatchewan, 11 games ago. Regina drop to a 11-2 record and will cross the pond tomorrow, Jan. 19, to face the UBC Thunderbirds, while the Vikes will host Brandon at McKinnon Gym. Both games will go down at 5 p.m. and will be broadcast live at http://canadawest.tv

SCORING BY QUARTER

VIC: 21-7-16-17 : 61

REG: 12-17-14-15 : 58

SCORING LEADERS:

VIC: Debbie Yeboah (17), Tessla Rennie (15)

REG: Michelle Clark (22), Brittany Reid (12)

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