EDMONTON — Victoria made shots when it counted most. And MacEwan didn’t.
Sounds simple, but that’s the synopsis as the No. 10 nationally-ranked Victoria Vikes women’s basketball squad escaped with a 68-61 win on Friday in a game that could have gone either way.
The Griffins built off a narrow half-time lead and held a 59-58 advantage with a few minutes remaining. But their offence turned into a toxic combination of missed passes, miscommunication and immobility as Victoria took over the contest with two minutes left.
“MacEwan did a nice job of slowing us down and taking us out of our sets,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair. It was a back and forth game most of the way and you know we got lucky—we made some tough shots at the end of the game that were able to give us the win.”
MacEwan’s offence turned static and stayed on the perimeter as their shots went off the mark. And Victoria closed with a 10-2 run.
“I thought we were a little bit more aggressive to finish the game,” said Sinclair, whose squad is now 3-2 in the standings. “Some shots fell for us. They’re really tough defensively and they took us out of our stuff.
“We had a really hard time scoring through most of the game and we were sort of lucky that some shots fell down the stretch. Tough game.”
Victoria took a three-point lead when Amira Giannattasio nailed a three with 1:54 left. Jenna Krug put the Vikes up by four when she hit from behind the arc under pressure. Victoria went to the line in the dying seconds and then grabbed their own board to seal it.
The Griffins suffered through their share of cold spells on the offensive side of the court, including early in the game when they fell behind by seven. But they chipped away, building off some solid back and forth between Kathryn Sutherland and Kerilynn MacLennan to take a 32-31 lead into the half.
In the third quarter, the Griffins lived and died by the three pointer as Kendall Lydon and Brielle Wise traded buckets early before they went cold and conceded a 5-0 Victoria run to close the quarter.
The teams traded defensive stops in the early fourth quarter before Victoria’s shooting heated up and MacEwan’s went the other way.
Lydon led MacEwan in scoring with a game-high 20 points, adding eight assists and seven rebounds. Kayla Ivicak chipped in 12 on 5-of-11 shooting.
Giannattasio led the Vikes with 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including two threes, while Jenna Bugiardini grabbed 11 of Victoria’s 43 rebounds on the evening, and added nine points. Marissa Dheensaw with 13 and Krug with 10 also had solid games for Victoria.
“They’re a good team and it’s never easy getting a win especially in an away gym,” said Sinclair. “I think you have to get the Friday night game when you’re on the road. It’s going to be another game.”
The two teams will be back at it on Saturday night when they face off at 4:00 p.m. in Edmonton.