The University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team were still feeling the pre-season vibes as the home side dropped an 83-71 decision to the UNBC Timberwolves on the final day of the Guy Vetrie Tournament at the CARSA Performance Gym on Sept. 29.
The lethal trio of Madison Landry, Vasiliki Louka and Maria Mongomo were once again too much for the Vikes as, combined, the trio scored 60 of the team’s 71 points in the game. Landry and Louka each finished with 22 points, while Louka completed the double-double with 13 rebounds. The Timberwolves shot 57 per cent from the field but struggled at the line shooting six-for-17 in free throws.
For the Vikes senior guard Amira Giannattasio led her side with 24 points, while Katie Langdonhad 13 points and eight rebounds. Calli McMillan stepped up with nine points in the game, while Langdon led defensively with eight rebounds.
“Amira is being Amira but we have to find some other people around her to help out,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair, of her fifth year who has led in scoring in both pre-season games. “I was really proud of the effort from girls like Morgan (Roskelley), Roza (Kalashnikoff) who came in off the bench, Lindsay (Caron) and Aleah (Ashlee). They worked really hard. We are getting good individual effort but the basketball is not good right now. It’s just not very smart play.”
UNBC’s Landry single-handedly kept the Timberwolves on the offence putting up 12 points, including going four-for-four from the line, to give the visitors a 30-26 edge after the first quarter. Giannattasio picked up from last night and led her team with nine points.
“It’s no surprise because you know they are the three you have to deal with,” said Sinclair about the UNBC trio. “That’s the disappointing thing is we didn’t really put them in any position that it was difficult for them. They are great players so you have to be able to do that. They are going to get their points but we made it a bit too easy for them.”
In the second quarter the Timberwolves gained some scoring momentum from Alina Shakirova and an Emily Holmes three-pointer lifted the visitors by eight, up 38-30. Giannattasio drained two from the charity stripe and followed it by a nice jumper to keep the Vikes in the race.
Vikes forward Paige Thompson finished on a strong drive to the hoop to cut UNBC’s lead to two and the teams continued to trade baskets as Mongomo dropped a trey in the other end. Back-to-back hoops from Louka extended UNBC’s lead late in the half to six, up 48-42, but Vikes guard Morgan Roskelley responded with a deep three as the Vikes trailed 51-45 at the break.
In the first half UNBC’s Landry was perfect from the floor to finish with 14 points, while the Timberwolves shot an impressive 69 per cent from the field. Meanwhile, for the home side, the Vikes shot just 44 per cent but were 11-for-12 from the line. Both teams were square in rebounds and turnovers and the game’s score was tied seven times and the lead was changed 10 times.
In the third quarter the Vikes out-scored the Timberwolves 15-14 as Vikes forward Langdon stepped up to put up eight points in the quarter. Landry was held to just four points in the quarter that proved to be the key for the Vikes. Louka, however picked up where Landry was denied and had eight points and four rebounds as UNBC led 65-60 entering the final quarter.
The Vikes couldn’t keep pace with the Timberwovles who out-shot them 18-11 in the last stretch. UNBC led for all but three minutes in the game and were solid in finishing off the game with an 83-71 victory.
“Our biggest problem right now is not containing the ball of the dribble,” noted Sinclair. “Our perimeter defence has to be better. I think it’s pretty open right now with our rotation and seeing where people can play and seeing who may be ready to step in and steal a spot.”
Up next the Vikes will prepare to head to Hamilton, Ont., Oct. 13-14, for two pre-season games, while their home opener for the Canada West regular season will be on Nov. 3 against the UBC Thunderbirds.
1 2 3 4: F
UNBC: 30 21 14 18: 83
UVIC: 26 19 15 11: 71