By Vikes Communications
February 24, 2013, Victoria, BC – The UVIC Vikes women’s basketball team’s season came to an abrupt hault on Saturday as the No. 2 Regina Cougars hung on for a 68-66 victory in Game 2 of the Canada West best-of-three series allowing them to advance to the Canada West Final Four next weekend.
Vikes fifth-year Debbie Yeboah (Winnipeg, MB) carried the Vikes on her back with a sensational fourth-quarter performance to finish her final career game with 24 points.
For the Cougars, Brittany Read was stellar with 16 points, while Danielle Schmidt has 12 points and 12 rebounds to secure the game’s lone double-double. Lindsay Ledingham also broke into double figures with 10 points for Regina. The fifth-year also pulled down eight rebounds.
Though their season comes to a close, the Vikes women did not go down with a fight. Yeboah closed her five-year career out leading all players with 24 points and grabbibg a team-high eight rebounds. Jenny Lewis (Fall River, NS) was 7-for-8 from the field – including a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range – and scored 19 in 22 minutes off the bench for the Vikes.
“We battled hard tonight and you can feel a little bit better about things when you play hard like that and give it your all,” said associate Vikes coach Dani Sinclair, whose team graduates both Yeboah and forward Chelsea McMullen. “Debbie has been our leader all year and she carried us on her back at the end there. She hit some great shots and Regina didn’t have an answer for her. She has been an unbelieveable part of our program and did everything she could. Things didn’t fall our way tonight.”
The two teams were tied 13-13 after a lot-scoring first quarter and the Cougars took a 30-27 lead into a first half in which the two teams were never separated by more than five points.
The Cougars went on a 6-0 run in the latter portions of the third quarter to build up a 12-point advantage, the largest of the game for either team. But the Vikes responded with an 8-0 run of their own to get the deficit down to four heading into the fourth.
Victoria continued the momentum into the fourth, taking the lead for the first time since the second quarter after a Yeboah jumper from the paint two minutes into the period. The two teams traded punches down the stretch, with Yeboah hitting a pair of free throws to tie the game back up with a minute remaining. Regina’s Read extended the ensuing possession with an offensive rebound off her own miss and then hit a layup that put the Cougars up for good with 27 seconds left.
The Cougars forced a missed shot on the ensuing possession and Victoria had to foul four times before Michelle Clark finally went to the line with seven seconds left. Clark hit both free throws to make it a two-possession game, and all a late Lewis bucket at the buzzer could do was to bring Victoria to within two.
The Cougars were pushed to a final score of 68-66, dropping the Vikes out of their Canada West run. The Cougars will now advance to the Canada West Final Four, Mar. 1-2, hosted at the University of Calgary.
“For eight of our girls it was their very first playoff game so, to be apart of a game like tonight’s game is a great experience for them,” added Sinclair who bounced this year’s team back from an 8-10 record in 2011-12. “Losing a game like that can be great motivation for teams and players to come back motivated to train through the summer and play next year.”
For the Vikes, the squad will graduate both Yeboah and McMullen but return three of their starting five including Jessica Renfrew (Victoria, BC), Cassandra Goodis (Penticton, BC) and rookie Jenna Bugiardini (Hamilton, ON).
SCORING BY QUARTER:
REG: 13-17-20-18: 68
VIC: 13-14-19-20: 66
REG: Brittany Read (16), Danielle Schmidt (12)
VIC: Debbie Yeboah (24), Jenny Lewis (19)