VANCOUVER – The No. 2-ranked UBC Thunderbirds women’s basketball team advanced to the Canada West Final Four after completing a sweep over the Regina Cougars tonight, Feb. 28, in Game 2 of their best-of-three quarter-final series. UBC rallied from an early 17-point deficit to win 68-63 at War Memorial Gymnasium in Vancouver.
After yesterday’s heroics, senior Harleen Sidhu had another spectacular night for the Thunderbirds. Sidhu scored 21 points and eight rebounds, while teammate Kara Spotton had 12 points, making six of her 11 shot attempts from the field. Kris Young and Diana Lee followed with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Cougars’ Alyssia Kajati was her team’s leading scorer for the second straight night. Kajati recorded the only double-double in the game, tallying 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jennilea Coppola, Kehlsie Crone, and Katie Polischuk all scored 12 points.
Regina stunned the hosts by making nine of its first 10 shots on Saturday afternoon, jumping out to a 21-4 lead. In the huge game-opening surge, Polischuk nailed a couple of three-point baskets, while Kajati, Coppola and Charlotte Kot had two field goals each.
UBC replied with an 11-2 run that bridged the first and second quarters to get back within single digits of the visitors. The T-Birds then added a 15-2 spurt over a span of almost six minutes in the second quarter to take the lead, which ended up at 32-30 going into halftime. The 15 points came from Spotton (six), Cassandra Knievel (five) and Sidhu (four).
UBC surrendered just five points in the second quarter. The ‘Birds were just as good in the third, outscoring Regina 21-11.
Young’s bucket and foul shot gave the home side a 60-44 advantage, its largest of the night, halfway through the fourth quarter. But the Cougars immediately fought back with a 10-0 run, with Coppola supplying six of those points. They got to within five points after Crone made a triple with 10 seconds to go but the comeback bid ultimately fell short as UBC managed to convert six of eight foul shots down the stretch.
“In the First quarter I think we just came out pretty flat and we weren’t ready to play, and once we got over that slump phase we got ourselves back in the game,” said Spotton.
Regina’s season concludes in the quarter-final round of the Canada West playoffs while UBC will host the league’s Final Four championship tournament next weekend in Vancouver. Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Victoria will join UBC. The two-day competition will decide who will represent the league at the CIS Women’s Basketball Championship in Quebec City.
“I’m excited. I think the whole team is excited. We have a great control of the game, we have great seniors right now, and I think with great players such as Har [Harleen Sidhu] and Kris [Young], we have to go as far as we can,” added Spotton.
The dates and times for the Final Four will be announced at a later date. UBC will take on Alberta in one semifinal at War Memorial Gym while Saskatchewan will battle Victoria in the other.