By Elizabeth Chan, Vikes Communications
(ISN) – VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team dropped the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack, 79-76, in Game 1 of their Canada West best-of-three quarter-final series on Feb. 26 at the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops.
“It was an exciting game,” said Vikes women’s basketball head coach Dani Sinclair. “We went blow for blow from the very beginning. No team was able to get separation. When you have a team like TRU that can shoot the ball the way they can it is always tough. I think both teams have a lot of work to do after tonight. This series will be a battle.”
Victoria was led by Jenna Bugiardini, who logged a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds. The third year Hamilton, Ont. native was also 9-for-11 in free throws. Canada West second team All-Star Cassandra Goodis and conference Rookie of the Year Amira Giannattasio each recorded 14 points, while Goodis also contributed with six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Jenna Krug chipped in with 13 points.
WolfPack senior and second team all-star Jorri Duxbury led Thompson Rivers with 18 points and five assists, while third team all-star Taiysa Worsfold grabbed 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Kassie Colonna and Emma Piggin chipped in each with 13 points. Piggin also made three steals while Michelle Bos charted 11 points.
Thompson Rivers started off confidently as Canada West All-Rookie member Bos sank back-to-back threes in the first two minutes of the game. Six-foot-two Colonna was also a force in the paint as she followed Bos with two timely buckets to maintain their lead by four. Senior Vike Jessica Renfrew set her team up in the first to keep UVic up to speed but a foul on the visiting team allowed the WolfPack to outscore the Vikes 17-15 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Vikes were able to take the lead after seeing two-straight layups from Bugiardini and six-straight points from Goodis but they were unable to answer three long treys from Thompson Rivers’ Duxbury and Worsfold. At half time, the Vikes trailed 34-32 to the WolfPack.
Thompson Rivers continued to increase their lead entering the third, keeping the Vikes at 38 per cent in field goal shooting but the Vikes managed to out-score the home team 22-20 thanks to Krug’s tenacity in the paint. The teams were level at 54-54 entering the fourth.
In the final stretch, Thompson Rivers got into early foul trouble allowing the Vikes to chip away more easily at the WolfPack’s lead. Vikes rookie Giannattasio drained two much-needed buckets from beyond the arc to get the Vikes to a one-point difference. TRU’s Worsfold sank nine points mid-way through the last quarter but further fouls on the home team allowed Bugiardini to go six-for-six at the free throw line in the last two minutes of the game. Ultimately, it was the last few and-one plays that brought the 79-76 victory into the hands of the Vikes, good for the visitors to take Game 1 of this Canada West quarter-final series.
Both teams clash again tomorrow, Feb. 27, in Kamloops with tip off set for 7 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast live with video and stats at canadawest.tv.
TRU: 17-17-20-22: 76
UVIC: 15-17-22-25: 79
TRU: Jorri Duxbury (18), Taiysa Worsfold (14), Emma Piggin (13), Kassie Colonna (13)
UVIC: Jenna Bugiardini (21), Amira Giannattasio (14), Cassandra Goodis (14), Jenna Krug (13)