By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications with files from Cougars Athletics
VICTORIA – The CIS No. 3 Regina Cougars proved too much on the night for the University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team as the Vikes conceded the weekend sweep to the Cougars with an 84-73 loss on Feb. 6. The Cougars improve their impressive record to 15-1 and win their tenth consecutive Canada West regular season game while the Vikes are now 7-11.
Fourth-year Vike Nicole Karstein followed up her strong performance of 23 points the night before with a positive production of 19 points and six rebounds in the weekend finale. Fourth year Jenna Bugiardini was the leading scorer for the Vikes with 22 points and five rebounds. Second year Kristy Gallagher was the top rebounder for the Vikes with eight boards while also adding 17 points.
“We had the game within one possession in the third but couldn’t execute at key points in the game,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair, whose team now enters a bye week before a crucial home series against the Brandon Bobcats on Feb. 19-20. “Much like the night before, I thought we gave too many easy shots and points to a good Regina team.”
The Cougars received production you’ve come to expect this season from their starters with both Kehlsie Crone and Alyssia Kajati adding 19 points in the win. The Cougars trounced the Vikes 20-2 in bench points while outshooting the Vikes from three-point range at 7-for-22 and 31.8 per cent to the Vikes’ 2-for-11 and 18.2 per cent.
While the Cougars took the lead for good three and a half minutes into the game, the contest stayed tight well into the second half. The Cougars held a 27-21 lead after the opening quarter thanks to a late triple by Crone, and took a 48-35 lead as Polischuk hit a three at the halftime buzzer.
Polischuk opened the second half with a bucket to extend the lead to 15, but the Cougars didn’t score a single field goal over the next seven minutes as Victoria’s 16-2 run brought the Vikes all the way back to within one. The Cougars had a response, though, going on an 11-1 run that spanned the final minute of the third and the first minute of the fourth to go back up by double digits. Regina didn’t lead by fewer than eight points the rest of the way, getting contributions from nearly everyone on the roster to hold off Victoria for the win.
The Vikes now prepare for a pivotal Canada West series against the Brandon Bobcats at the CARSA Performance Gym on Feb. 19-20. Brandon, Winnipeg, and UBC each have 6-10 records and two games in hand on Victoria. The Vikes hold their postseason destiny in their hands as two wins over the Bobcats will clinch a playoff position regardless of any other results on the out-of-town scoreboard.
The Cougars will now prepare for a key road series against a Calgary team that is just below them in the Pioneer Division standings at 13-4. A win for the Cougars over the Dinos would clinch a top-three finish and a home series in the Canada West quarterfinals, which would likely begin on Mar. 3.
SCORING BY QUARTER:
1 2 3 4 F
UVIC: 21 14 19 19 73
REG: 27 21 13 23 84