Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN), with files from Jamie Umbach (UVic)

October 25, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes held an eight point lead with less than five minutes to play, but ended up on the short-end of an 86-81 score, falling to the Ryerson Rams in CIS Women’s basketball exhibition play Sunday afternoon at the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) in Victoria.

Vikes forward Katie Langdon (12) goes up for a shot against a trio of Ryerson defenders.  Langdon would finish with nine points on the day (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The loss gave the Lady Vikes a split of their two-game weekend exhibition series following a 72-67 win over the visiting Western Mustangs on Friday evening.

The game looked like it was going to be a Ryerson blow-out early, as they jumped into a quick 19-8 lead mid-way through the first quarter, but the Vikes would erase that 11-point deficit to trail just 25-24 at the quarter’s end and then battle the Rams evenly over the second quarter to trail 43-41 at the half.

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Vikes forward Nicole Karstein (10) drives to the net for two of her 18 points against the Ryerson Rams on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In the third quarter, the Vikes began to find their game and jumped into a 56-55 lead with 3:07 to play, but in a game that saw the lead change 11 times and the teams tied nine times, the Rams would recover to hold a 64-63 lead at the end of three.

UVic’s Jenna Bugiardini (13) grimaces as she tries to split the defence of Ryerson’s Silvana Jez (left) and Keneca Pingue-Giles (right).  Bugiardini would score 18 points for the Vikes (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Continued strong play by the Vikes saw them re-take that lead in the fourth and build it up to a 77-69 lead with 4:40 left to play. The Vikes shooting then went cold and a few crucial turnovers – a total of 25 on the day – cost them dearly, as the Rams then went on a 17-4 tear to close out the quarter and come out on top 86-81 at game’s end.

Vikes guard Kristy Gallagher (9) drives the lane during first quarter action against Ryerson (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“We were sloppy with the ball and gave it away when they pressured us,” said Vikes women’s basketball head coach Dani Sinclair on her team. “Obviously you want to win every game, but these games are good lessons for us moving forward.”

“Ryerson is a good team who could be in the CIS Top-5 this year,” added Sinclair. “It gives you a good sense of where we need to be. That’s why you play these games and hopefully you can work out some of the mistakes.”

UVic’s Marissa Dheensaw (11) lays in two of her four points against Ryerson on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Kristy Gallagher totaled 21 points and three steals in 34 minutes of action for the Vikes in the loss. Jenna Bugiardini and Nicole Karstein each added 18 points, shooting 6-for-15 and 8-for-17, respectively, while Katie Langdon chipped in nine points on 4-for-8 shooting. The Vikes shot 46.4% from the field (32-for-69) and 80% (16-for-20) from the foul line.

Vikes guard Avery Snider (7, right)) drives past Ryerson’s Keneca Pingue-Giles (7, left) during second half action Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Keneca Pingue-Giles led the charge for the Rams offensively for a team that finished with five scorers in double digits. This also included Sofia Paska (17 points), Silvana Jez (15 points), Mariah Nunes (11 points) and McKenzie Sigurdson (10 points). The Rams shot 50% from the field (30-for-60) and 75.8% (25-for-33) from the foul line.

Vikes’ guard Kristy Gallagher (9) would lead the Vikes with 21 points in the 86-81 loss to the Ryerson Rams on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Vikes’ pre-season continues on Oct. 31 at 2:00 p.m. against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at the CARSA Performance Gym before hosting the MacEwan Griffins on Nov. 1.