by Wilson Wong
January 11, 2014, VANCOUVER (ISN) – A late game comeback by the UBC Thunderbirds women’s basketball team fell short as the hosts lost 55-53 to the No. 4 Saskatchewan Huskies at War Memorial Gym in Vancouver on Saturday night.
“That was one of the best defensive efforts we’ve had all year. That was something we talked about going into the game, that Saskatchewan was the best offensive team in the country and they’re putting up a lot of points so we have to make sure we’re reducing what they trying to get inside through (Dalyce) Emmerson, trying to take away some of their three-point shooting and making sure it’s a physical battle,” said UBC assistant coach Carrie Watts of a Huskies squad that was averaging 76 points a game coming into the weekend.
“We were able to hold them 20 points under their average, so it was a fantastic defensive effort. Kris Young had a great game offensively but if you’re going to win games against the No. 4 team in the country, you have to have more people contributing offensively so that was a little bit frustrating.”
Reigning Canada West MVP Kris Young recorded 24 points, seven rebounds and seven steals. Adrienne Parkin, Maggie Sundberg and Harleen Sidhu all chipped in with six points for UBC.
Kabree Howard led Saskatchewan with 11 points while Desarae Hogberg and Kiera Lyons both had 10.
The two squads entered the fourth quarter tied at 39-39, but the visiting Huskies outscored the Thunderbirds 13-4 over the first six and a half minutes to take a solid lead. The run was bookended by foul shots from Dalyce Emmerson, who finished the night with a game-high 15 rebounds.
UBC’s comeback attempt began with two straight Sidhu layups to close to 52-47. The Thunderbirds then hit three of four free throws to trail 52-50 with 47 seconds left in the game.
After UBC gave up an offensive rebound on the ensuing possession and was forced to foul. Saskatchewan made three of four shots from the charity stripe to go up 55-50 with just eight seconds on the game clock.
Cassandra Knievel knocked down a three-point shot with four seconds left to get the home side to within a bucket. Then she stole the inbounds pass but her last second heave from the outside fell short as the final buzzer sounded with Saskatchewan ahead 55-53.
UBC had gotten off to a great start in the first quarter, forcing Saskatchewan without a field goal in the opening 4:30, a streak of seven missed shots that was finally broken with a Kiera Lyons layup.
A Jaime Hills triple with 2:25 left in the first put the ‘Birds up by 10 points. But the Huskies closed the gap to just one point (26-25) at the half, as they hit four three-points in the second quarter, including two from Howard.
UBC forced 29 turnovers from Saskatchewan but lost the rebounding battle 45-29. The visitors also converted half of their 16 shots from distance.
The Thunderbirds made 20 of their 57 shots (35.1 per cent) from the field while the Huskies were 17 for 50 (34.0 per cent).
Both teams will travel to Calgary next weekend. UBC (7-5) will face Mt. Royal while Saskatchewan (11-1) will place the Dinos.