Stingy defence helps Vikes pile up points in victory over George Fox

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VICTORIA – Fifth year Nicole Karstein led the way with 17 points and a stingy Vikes defence forced 44 turnovers as the University of Victoria picked up a 74-48 victory over the George Fox University Bruins on Friday night at the CARSA Performance Gym.

The Vikes entered Friday’s matchup just under a week removed from a 65-49 over UNBC as part of the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament—their first victory of the season—while George Fox came in fresh off of a win against Camosun College earlier in the day on Friday.

Amira Giannattasio and Jenna Bugiardini followed Karstein on the scoresheet, registering 16 and 14 points, respectively, for the Vikes. Kimberly Frost’s 14 points led all Bruins, followed by Kaitlin Jamieson with 11 points and eight rebounds.

For the Vikes, the newly established two-game winning streak is helping erase the sting of a four-game losing streak to start the exhibition season, one that was punctuated by a last-minute 64-62 loss to an always-sharp Ottawa Gee-Gees team.

But head coach Dani Sinclair has made it a point all pre-season to focus on the process rather than the result, and Friday was no different.

“What we were happy with was how we were able to disrupt defensively and that opened some things up and got us some easy shots. But it didn’t feel like we even executed all that much offensively—it was more just broken plays and out of transition,” Sinclair said.

“It was interesting. I don’t feel like we got to work on our offence too much but that maybe is good news because our defence was able to find some turnovers and give us some easy things.”

If that sounds like an odd comment after a big 74-48 victory, it wasn’t at all out of place. The Vikes forced 44 turnovers, translating that total into 38 points on the night. In many ways, a tightened defensive structure helped the Vikes be more efficient on the other end of the floor.

“Our guards and forwards were able to break them down so we almost didn’t have to run sets,” said Sinclair. “We still fell into the trap of playing frantically so yeah they had 44 turnovers but we’re about double of what we want [with 30]. We turned the ball over too much.”

Fifth-year guard Jenna Krug led the Vikes with four steals while Bugiardini and Giannattasio each had three, taking advantage of a tired Bruins program that brought 19 players on their Canadian trip—many of whom are fighting for a spot on the 2016-17 roster.

But, despite a long morning of travel and a game earlier in the day against Camosun, the George Fox bench stayed upbeat through the entire game and gave the Vikes a couple scares, particularly late in the first half that saw the score tied at 24-24 at one point.

“Kudos to them for sure,” said Sinclair. “They brought energy and kept cheering each other on right until the very end. That’s a team that travelled at night last night and this was their second game of the day so they are dog tired. We can learn from that. Sometimes we become very quiet and inward when things aren’t going well so there’s something to take from that for sure.”

The Vikes are back in action next Friday, when they take on the Windsor Lancers at 7:00 p.m. at the CARSA Performance Gym looking for their third straight win.

SCORING SUMMARY 
UVIC: 15-20-19-20: 74
GFU: 7-17-15-9: 48

SCORING LEADERS 
UVIC: N. Karstein (17),  A. Giannattasio (16), J. Bugiardini (14)
GFU: K. Frost (14), K. Kamieson (11), T. Headings (7)

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