LETHBRIDGE -The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Lethbridge Pronghorns by a score of 86-82 on the road in Alberta despite fifth-year Amira Giannattasio putting up another 30-point performance.
With the Vikes were up by two, 78-76 with three minutes to play and both teams would fight tooth and nail in the final minutes to gain the upper hand. After a jumper from Ashlyn Day Pronghorns’ Danielle Fritzke and Asnate Fomina would answer for Lethbridge to give the ‘Horns a one point lead with 90 seconds to play.
Day would be fouled on the ensuing possession, sinking both foul shots to regain a one-point lead of their own. A stretch of three big plays for the Pronghorns would follow. First, a strong drive by Katie Keith would give the Pronghorns the lead again. Following that play, Asnate Fomina records a steal and would draw two consecutive fouls. After going two of four on her foul shots, the Lethbridge came up with a big defensive stand. This would seal the game for the ‘Horns.
The visiting Vikes were paced by Giannattasio who had a game high 31 points. Aleah Ashlee would record a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds).
Lethbridge would be led by Kacie Bosch (22 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists), Logan Moncks (18 points, 6 rebounds), Danielle Fritzke (16 points), and Katie Keith (11 points, 8 rebounds).
Coming into tonight’s matchup, the Vikes (8-6, 16 points) found themselves just one spot above the Lethbridge Pronghorns (7-7, 14 points) in the standings. This weekend set had serious implications in the Canada West playoff picture, with just six games remaining in the schedule. Four teams have already clinched a playoff berth, with the top 12 teams in Canada West qualifying for the postseason. With tonight’s win, the Horns move into a three way tie for eighth place alongside the Vikes at 8-7.
The first quarter started slow, with both teams struggling to capitalize on early opportunities in the paint. After the Vikes opened the scoring with a three, fifth-year senior Danielle Fritzke answered with a triple of her own. The early story of the game was third-year Vikes guard Calli McMillan who was doing it all for her team early on. From rebounding, to finding an open cutter, McMillan set the tone for her team acting as a facilitator, as she finished the quarter with 3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.
The Vikes continued their strong play in the quarter despite McMillan going to the bench, taking advantage of bad decisions by the Pronghorns as they would consistently gain points from turnovers and bad shots. The ‘Horns would also be plagued by a cold shooting in the quarter, connecting on only five of their 19 shots, as they would trail 22-14 after 10 minutes.
The Vikes started the second quarter continuing to control the play thanks to their hustle and effort. Outhustling the ‘Horns on the glass, and to loose balls. After five straight points scored by the Vikes, the Pronghorns would begin to match the intensity of Victoria. Beating the Vikes to rebounds and loose balls, and draw a couple fouls and force back-to-back steals to cut the Vikes lead to 27-20. On the ensuing possession, Lethbridge would force a 24 second violation, which was followed by a Kacie Bosch drive to the paint for two. Both teams would battle for momentum for the remainder of the quarter, with the ‘Horns going on a late 10-4 run to cut the Victoria lead to three, 40-37, heading into the break.
The third quarter saw the Pronghorns heat up offensively. After Keith’s drive to the basket, the ‘Horns would begin to open up space and find success in the paint. After seeing the game tied up at 48, the Vikes would begin a run of their own thanks to strong play by Giannatttasio.
The game began to tighten up late in the third, as a once 12 point lead by the Vikes had clearly dissipated. Kacie Bosch and Amy Mazutinec would begin to takeover for the ‘Horns – leading the charge for the Pronghorns as they would take a 59-57 lead into the fourth quarter and battle down the stretch for their eighth win of the season.