Second-half efforts keep young Vikes on heels of No. 2 Pandas

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By Ali Lee, 

(ISN) – VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball overcame a first-half slumber to stay on pace with the CIS No. 2-ranked Alberta Pandas, despite an 83-69 loss on Nov. 28 at McKinnon Gym. The Vikes women sported their pink uniforms in support of tonight’s 8th Annual Shoot for the Cure event, where proceeds went to the CIS-wide initiative to raise support for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Three Vikes hit double digits including senior Jessica Renfrew with a team-high 19 points, while Cassandra Goodis andAmira Giannattasio had 18. Goodis also logged seven assists, while third year Jenna Bugiardini had a team-high eight rebounds. The Vikes enjoyed 23 points from their bench but shot just 42 per cent from the field.

Alberta senior Saskia Van Ginhoven continued her Canada West dominance, finishing the night with a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds. Fellow fifth year Sally Hillier logged 20 points, while Jessilyn Fairbanks added 16. Six-foot Kendra Asleson and Van Ginhoven each had eight rebounds.

The first half saw the top-ranked Pandas pace the young Vikes both on the scoreboard and in speed on the court. The quick-paced transition caught the Vikes on several occasions but the veteran leadership of Renfrew and Goodis kept the home team in check. Alberta had an 8-0 run in the first quarter that put them in the driver’s seat.

Several turnovers and some confusion under the boards allowed the Pandas too many second-chance opportunities, while six-foot-one Van Ginhoven had 12 points in the second frame for the visitors. Normal scoring threat Bugiardini was unnaturally quiet, only scoring one free throw for the Vikes in the opening half, while several freshmen made their future intentions clear.

Vikes rookie Giannattasio had nine first-half points as the Vikes trailed 21-15 entering the second quarter. Much of the work was still up to the fifth years Goodis and Renfrew, who had to compete with the dynamics of Alberta seniors Hillier, Fairbanks and Van Ginhoven.

The Pandas shot 62 per cent in the opening half, while the Vikes were at 41. The Pandas held a 43-32 lead entering half time.

The Vikes did well to play catch up in the third quarter, out-scoring the Pandas 20-19. Van Ginhoven was kept off the scoreboard in that frame despite a seven-point quarter from Hillier. Goodis started to drive the lane well, doubling her first-half scoring to enter the final quarter with 12 points and seven assists. Most notably, rookie Giannattasio hit her second three of the night to tally seven points in the third as the Vikes trailed by 10 at 62-52 entering the final quarter.

The Vikes showed grit and determination to stay in the game but Maddie Rogers hit her second three of the night to lift the Pandas by 14 with under two minutes to go. A few foul throws were all the Vikes could muster as the home team surrendered a 83-69 loss in game one of the weekend double-header. The Vikes drop to 2-5 in the Canada West standings, while the Pandas improve to 6-1.

Both teams will turnaround again tomorrow, Nov. 29, for a rematch at 5 p.m. at McKinnon Gymnasium on Ken and Kathy Shields court.

ALB: 21-22-19-21 : 83
UVIC:15-17-20-17 : 69

ALB: Saskia Van Ginhoven (23), Sally Hillier (20), Jessilyn Fairbanks (16)
UVIC: Jessica Renfrew (19), Cassandra Goodis (18), Amira Giannattasio (18)