Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
February 18, 2017, Victoria, BC (ISN) – UVic Vikes guard Jenna Krug came alive when it mattered, scoring 19 of her 22 points in the second half, to propel the Vikes to a 68-60 win over the MacEwan University Griffins in U Sports Canada West Women’s Basketball playoff action Saturday night at the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria.
The win, combined with the Vikes 67-54 win on Friday night, gives them a two-game sweep of the best-of-three playoff series and moves them into the quarter-finals next weekend against the #3 seeded Winnipeg Wesmen in Winnipeg.
Krug picked the right time to get hot Saturday, as the Griffins, playing for their playoff lives, took it to the Vikes for the entire first half, holding leads of 18-16 after one quarter and 37-32 at the half. The Griffins were buoyed in the half from an 11-point performance by Kayla Ivicak and seven each from Paige Knull and Kendall Lydon.
The Vikes made some adjustments at the break and began to chip away at the Griffins lead, finally pulling back in front, 44-43, with 3:10 left to play in the quarter and finished the frame up 49-47 thanks to a buzzer beater by Krug, who with the basket, notched her 10th and 11th points of the quarter.
The Vikes continued to roll in the fourth quarter, and using another eight points from Krug, extended their lead to as much as 10 points, 60-50, with just over four minutes to play.
The Griffins battled hard down the stretch, closing the gap to just six points with under a minute to play, but it was too little, too late and a pair of late free throws by Jenna Bugiardini, iced the Vikes 68-60 win.
“What a tough team and a tough performance from MacEwan, they gave us a lot of fits throughout the game,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair. “We didn’t deal with their pressure and their physicality very well in the first half but we pulled through and were able to make some plays.”
“Jenna absolutely carried our team tonight,” added Sinclair. “She literally put the team on her shoulders at times and was a big reason why we were able to pull it through. She made some big baskets and could have been on the line for half the night based on her tough attacks to the rim.”
In addition to Krug’s 22-point night, which led all scorers, the Vikes were buoyed by 14 points from Nicole Karstein and 12 from Bugiardini. All three players also chipped in seven rebounds each, accounting for 21 of the Vikes 39 boards on the night.
For the Griffins, their leader Lydon went down fighting, finishing with 16 points to lead her team. Knull and Ivicak finished with 15 points each.
The playoff sweep was a little bit of sweet revenge for the Vikes, as it was the Griffins who ended the Vikes year last season in the playoffs. This year, they returned the favour and in the process, secured their fourth win in four tries over the Griffins this season.
The Vikes will now have another shot for revenge when they take on the Wesmen, a team that swept the Vikes in Victoria just one week ago.
“We are excited to move on and we’ll celebrate that tonight but it’s a pretty quick turnaround,” said Sinclair. “We got a chance to see Winnipeg just last week so I think our girls will be pretty hungry. The nice thing this weekend is we got some contributions from people off the bench and hopefully we can move forward with that momentum.”
That series will take place on February 23 and 24, with a possible game three scheduled for the 25.
All playoff games can be watched live on canadawest.tv