By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team battle through the trenches and came out on top, 72-67, over the visiting Western Mustangs in pre-season action on Oct. 23. This was the first of four pre-season women’s games being played on the new CARSA performance gym floor this month.
The Vikes were lead in scoring by Kristy Gallagher who had 23 points, three assists and four rebounds. Rookie Avery Snider added 17 points for the Vikes, while fourth year Jenna Bugiardini had a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Snider stepped in for stand-out guard Amira Giannattasio who sat the game for a lower body injury.
Western’s Mackenzie Puklicz had a team high 21 points for the visitors, while teammates Caroline Wolynski and Maddy Horst each added 12 points. Julia Curran was steady for the Mustangs with a game-high 12 rebounds.
“They really made us think tonight and they challenged us with their press and their zone,” said Vikes women’s basketball head coach Dani Sinclair. “We showed our youth tonight and we were disorganized and a bit sloppy. We were saved by Kristy and Avery who stepped in really well tonight.”
The Vikes got off to a slow start in just their second home game on their new CARSA performance gym floor. Western came out of the gate with a 19-16 first-quarter lead thanks to a scoring-by-committee style of play. Three different Western players hit from beyond the arc, while Kristy Gallagher put up eight of the Vikes’ 16 points.
In the second quarter the Vikes rebounded back to out-score Western 26-12. Gallagher added another 10 points to her total, while Jenna Bugiardini and rookie Avery Snider got into double-digit scoring early on with 10 and 11 points, respectively. Snider had three shots from the beyond the arc fall. Both teams were even in rebounds, 17 apiece, while Horst was the top first-half scorer for Western with eight points. Julia Curran and Mackenzie Puklicz each added six points, while the home side earned 19 points off Western turnovers.
Victoria held a 42-31 lead at half time and shot 47 per cent from the field compared to Western’s 35 per cent.
In the third quarter Western came back to life, out-scoring the Vikes 20-14, thanks to a great effort from Horst and Puklicz. Puklicz had eight points in the quarter as the Mustangs picked up nine second-chance points. Thanks to the Mustangs’ come back the visitors were able to cut the Vikes’ lead to five points with Victoria leading 56-51 entering the final quarter.
“We got beat off the dribble a lot tonight and our defence needs to be better,” continued Sinclair. “It wasn’t a clean performance but it gives us lots of leverage for practice this week.”
Both teams squared up in the final frame scoring 16 points each, while Gallagher fouled out to leave Western a glimpse of opportunity to make it back into the game. Vikes rookie Marissa Dheensaw provided some important rebounds late in the game to keep the Vikes in it while Western pushed back with another seven points for Puklicz. The third-year guards efforts were not enough as the Vikes hung on for a 72-57 victory.
Up next the Vikes will have a day’s break before hosting the Ryerson Rams, Oct. 25, at 11:00 a.m. pacific time.
“Ryerson will take it to you,” said Sinclair of Sunday’s opponent. “They are a top team in the country with lots of experience. You won’t get second chances if you don’t make your first lay up against them. They will expose your weaknesses so we will have some time work through things in practice and we have to be better.”
The Vikes will also host Canada West colleagues Thompson Rivers and MacEwan on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, respectively.
UWO: 19-12-20-16 : 67
UVIC: 16-26-14-16 : 72