Seniors Yeboah, McMullen shine in final home win over Thunderbirds

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

February 16, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team will remember the first time they dawned pink uniforms at McKinnon Gymnasium.

The No. 9 Vikes didn’t look back as they stormed the court to a 64-56 victory over the No. 5 UBC Thunderbirds on Feb. 16, also the night of the annual Shoot for the Cure. Fifth-year Vikes Debbie Yeboah (Winnipeg, MB) and Chelsea McMullen (Prince George, B.C.) were unstoppable in their final home game of the season wtith 29 and 20 points, respectively.

Yeboah’s season-high performance of 29 points had Vikes fans on their feet all game as the five-foot-six guard played all but three minutes and added four assists and four steals. McMullen picked up 10 points in each half and was a defensive force under the boards. Adding to the show was a composed Cassandra Goodis (Penticton, BC), who had a game-high 10 rebounds, as well as three steals and three assists.

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Vikes guard Cassandra Goodis shoots over Zana Willams. Goodis would be quiet from the field with two points, but lead both teams in rebounding with 10 boards Saturday night – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

“We were upset with last night’s loss and to us, tonight meant everything,” said an emotional McMullen, following her final regular season game as a Vike. “We haven’t beat them in four years and we just wanted to take it to them.”

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Jessica Renfrew gets through two UBC defenders on the way to the bucket Saturday night at Mackinnon Gym. The Womens Vikes would be victorious, winning 64-56 in a tight match – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

For the Birds, third-year Kris Young found her scoring touch late to finish with 21 points, while Stelly’s graduate and senior closed the night with 16 points. The Birds were 46 per cent from the floor but gave up 23 turnovers relative to the Vikes’ 11.

The Vikes came out of the gate with a quick 4-0 run before Stansfield made good on a jumper to get the T-Birds on the board. The home side followed up with an 8-0 streak and held UBC to their lone two points for nearly five minutes. Yeboah did most of the first quarter damage, to make good in the paint for eight points to lift the Vikes up 16-10.

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Yeboah would slice to the hoop often Saturday night, making the t-Birds defense miss on many occasions. Yeboah would take advantage of UBC micues to the tune of 29 points on the night – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( www.allsportmedia.ca ) 

Goodis sparked the Victoria squad in the second, as her passing accuracy sprung the fifth-year duo of Yeboah and McMullen to eight and six points, respectively. Young found her form picking up seven points but it was not enough as the Vikes went on to out-score the Birds 17-13 in the second.

Home court advantage proved powerful in the first half as the Vikes scored 14 points off UBC turnovers and won the rebounding war 21-17. The Vikes held a 33-23 cushion entering half time.

UBC’s Maggie Sundberg opened the third quarter with a much needed three-point shot but Victoria’s McMullen was right back in the game for the Vikes sinking a lay up of her own. T-Bird Adrienne Parkin made good on a long-range bucket to cut the lead to 10 but a quick 6-0 run lifted the Vikes up by their largest margin of the night at 14 points.

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Vikes Womens Basketball stand out Debbie Yeboah would save her best game of the season for her last home game at Mackinnon Gym Saturday night as she scored a season-high 29 points – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Yeboah and McMullen were all hands on deck, running the floor to pick up the tab on 14 of the Vikes’ 17 third-quarter points. UBC pushed back with 14 points of their own but the Vikes found comfort in their 49-37 advantage entering the final quarter.

A comeback loomed in the fourth quarter, as Young started a 9-0 run to cut the Vikes’ lead to three. Yeboah sunk a painful foul shot to make a three-point play, while Stansfield and Young combined to keep the visitors within four. McMullen muscled her way to the hoop to find four more for the electric Vikes squad, while third-year Jessica Renfrew (Victoria, BC) capped the game with two from the line.

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Fifth year Vike Debbie Yeboah received honors Saturday night as she would play here last home game as a Vike – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

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Graduating Vike Forward Chelsea McMullen poses with Associate Coach Dani Sinclair Saturday Night during post game recognition of McMullen’s tenure at UVIC – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Graduating athletes Yeboah and McMullen were given a standing ovation from the fans as they more than did their part in the big 64-56 win over the UBC Thunderbirds. With the win, the Vikes improve their record to 16-6, while the Birds drop to 17-5.

“Tonight will always be a big memory for me and these five years have just flown by,” said Yeboah after completing her final game in McKinnon gym.

BOX SCORE   /   STANDINGS

Next week, Feb. 22-24, the Vikes will travel to Regina to take on the Cougars in a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final playoff. The Thunderbirds will return home to host Alberta for a quarter-final series of their own.

SCORING BY QUARTER

UVIC: 16-17-16-15 : 64

UBC: 10-13-14-19 : 56

SCORING LEADERS

UVIC: Debbie Yeboah (29), Chelsea McMullen (20)

UBC: Kris Young (21), Leigh Stansfield (16 )

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