Quebec City, QC – The UBC Thunderbirds’ championship quest came to an end Saturday afternoon, losing 59-57 in overtime to McGill University in the CIS Final 8 national semi final. McGill outscored UBC 6-4 in the extra frame to advance to the gold medal final, while UBC will play for the bronze.
After UBC took a 50-44 lead with 6:00 minutes left in the fourth quarter, McGill responded with a 9-0 run to go up 53-50. Adrienne Parkin hit a three pointer to tie the game at 53-53 with 1:56 left in regulation. The Thunderbirds defence was able to shutdown McGill on their next possession giving UBC the final shot. Kris Young took control, drove to the hoop, but was stripped and McGill recovered to send the game into overtime.
In the extra frame UBC’s offence faltered, struggling to handle the pressure defence from McGill and the Martlets would earn the 59-57 victory.
“It was a real tough game for 45 minutes,” said UBC head coach Deb Huband. “Two top seeded teams battling it out in a quality match for the semi final. Offensively we struggled. We were not true to ourselves. We turned the ball over twice as much as we normally do and we were not good from the free throw line. A little bit of an uncharacteristic performance, but the stakes are high and the game was physical. McGill plays great defence and they were able to persevere and come back from a couple of six point deficits late in the game. i wish we were able to manage that situation a little bit better than we did, but McGill deserves the credit.”
UBC turned the ball over 21 times, including 11 in the opening half.
It was a slow start for both teams as they struggled to find their range. It took nearly three minutes before Jennifer Silver opening the scoring, hitting a three pointer to give McGill the early 3-0 lead. UBC would go ahead 9-7 with all points courtesy of Kris Young. A three-pointer from Dianna Ros, followed by a steal and hoop for Silver gave McGill a 12-11 lead after the opening quarter.
In the second quarter McGill jumped out to a 20-15 lead thanks to a 10-2 run. Carolann Cloutier did most of the damage for McGill hitting back-to-back three pointers. However, UBC rallied with a 9-0 run of its own baskets from Young, Harleen Sidhu, and Kara Spotton to take a 25-22 lead. Once again McGill had a response. This time it was Stephanie Blais hitting from long range to tie the game and Silver added a deuce to give McGill a 27-26 lead at the half.
McGill benefited from their three point shooting, hitting 5-of-12 shots from beyond the arc, while UBC was 0-for-2 in the opening half.
Young led all scorers at the half with 13 points, while Sidhu had nine points. McGill was led by Cloutier and Blais, each with six points each.
UBC’s signature strong defence was the difference early in the third quarter of play, forcing turnovers and taking advantage in transition as they started the second half on a 7-0 run to go ahead 33-27. Adrienne Parkin and Cassandra Knievel got in on the act offensively to help the Thunderbirds jump out to the early second half lead.
After Knievel hit another basket to make it 37-31 for UBC, Marika Guerin nailed a three pointer and Alexandria Kiss-Rusk banked in a shot to cut the lead to just one, 37-36. In fact, McGill went on a 15-7 run down the stretch in the quarter to go ahead 42-40.
Just like in the third quarter, UBC came out in the fourth quarter playing aggressive defensively and forcing McGill into a back court violation, shot clock violation, and a turnover. A Parkin jumper would complete a 10-0 run for UBC, giving them a 50-44 lead. McGill would not go away. Marie-Pier Bastrash scored off the fast break then Ros hit another three and McGill was down just one point, 50-49 with 2:44 left in the fourth quarter. After an UBC shot clock violation, Mariam Sylla hit a pair of free throws to put McGill back in front 51-50. A turnover on the inbounds by the Thunderbirds resulted in an easy Ros bucket and a 53-50 McGill lead, ending their own 9-0 run.
Just like she did in the Canada West final Parkin hit a huge three-pointer just as the shot clock expired and 1:56 left in the game to tie it up at 53-53. It was UBC’s first three pointer of the game. Both teams went into lockdown defence after that. Following a miss from Ros, UBC had it’s just to win on the last shot, but Young was stripped going to the hoop and the game would go into overtime, tied at 53-53.
The suffocating defence from both teams continued in extra time. UBC struggled to handle the pressure as they competed back to back shot clock violations. McGill jumped out to a four point lead, after Sylla scored to put them in front 58-54 with 1:20 left.
UBC responded immediately, this time it was Diana Lee hitting from downtown to cut the lead to 58-57. After stopping McGill on their next possession, UBC had a chance to take the lead, however, Parkin missed a layup from in close and McGill grabbed the rebound. The Thunderbirds were forced to foul with under 24 seconds left in the game. Ros hit one of two from the line and with 20.5 seconds left UBC had a chance to tie. Young had an open look but missed and McGill jumped on the rebound to run out the clock and hold on for the 59-57 victory.
Sidhu led all scorers with 20 points and nine rebounds. Young finished with 14 points, scoring just one point in the second half and overtime. She also had nine rebounds and five assists. Parkin chipped in with 10 points.
A big difference was bench scoring. UBC got just two points from its bench, while McGill’s bench scored 21 points.
Ros led the Martlets with 12 points and six assists.
The Thunderbirds will play in the bronze medal game against the Unversity of Saskatchewan, while McGill will face Windsor in the gold medal game. Tip off for UBC is Sunday morning at 7:00 am PST.
“You have a take a little bit of time to mourn this game,” said Huband. “We came into the tournament with high aspirations and knew it would be a tough battle, but obviously we are very disappointed in how we played today and the result but the bronze medal is on the line tomorrow and we want to regroup after a little time and try and finish on a winning note tomorrow.”