Edmonton, AB – A big second half run by the Alberta Pandas was the difference Friday night as the UBC Thunderbirds women’s basketball team lost 71-63 in Edmonton, suffering their first loss of the regular season.
UBC led 39-37 midway through the third quarter when the home team went on a 23-6 run that last nearly 10 minutes. Back-to-back three pointers by Renee Byrne and Jessilyn Fairbanks turned the table and was the beginning of the run. Fairbanks scored eight of Alberta’s 23 points during that span.
The Thunderbirds pushed hard to get themselves back in the game going on a 14-2 run of their own over a three minute span to cut the lead to 62-59 with three minutes remaining. Kris Young led the ‘Birds with seven of UBC’s 14 poitns. However, that is as close as UBC would get. The Pandas finished the game outscoring the Thunderbirds 9-4 to seal the victory 71-63.
Alberta led 16-15 after the first quarter and 33-32 at the half.
“A stagnant offense and a breakdown defensively in the third quarter allowed Alberta to extend a lead,” said UBC head coach Deb Huband. ” A tough defensive effort in the fourth quarter fueled a big run to get the game back to three, but they hit some clutch shots to deflate our comeback. In order to be successful we need to put forward a more consistent effort on the defensive boards and although we played tough defence for long stretches we need to finish off the 24 second clock with a defensive rebound. We expect another physical 40 minutes tomorrow.”
Fairbanks ran the show in front of home crowd with 16 points. She was an impressive 6-for-8 from the floor with four assists and four rebounds. Sally Hillier and Megan Van de Kraats each chipped in with 12 points apiece.
Young led UBC with 17 points, 9 of which came in the fourth quarter. Harleen Sidhu, Cassandra Knievel, and Kara Spotton all finished in double figures scoring with 14, 12, and 11 points respectively.
UBC’s defence were not quite as sharp as previous games as they allowed Alberta too much space. The Pandas capitalised shooting 52% from the field. UBC shot 41.7% from the field.
Alberta are now (5-0) while UBC fall to (2-1). The two teams will meet again tomorrow in Edmonton at 4:00 pm PST.