Winnipeg, MB – The University of Manitoba Bisons women's basketball team defeated the UNBC Timberwolves 67-64 in a thriller, on Saturday, January 28 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.
With the win, Manitoba improves to 2-14, and UNBC drops to 6-10 in conference play. This was Manitoba's second win of the season, their last coming on Nov. 12, a 70-53 home win over Thompson Rivers.
"We've kind of been there in a lot of games, so it's nice for it to finally pay off and put 40 minutes together" said Bisons head coach Michele Sung. "We've done end of game scenarios for 30 minutes every day at practice, for the last two weeks. So it was a very easy scenario, the girls have done it 100 times."
The Bisons were led by Rebecca Potter's 17 points, and Emma Thompson's double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. The visitors were led by Maria Mongomo, who scored a game high 23 points, and Vasiliki Louka's double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The teams were back-and-forth in the opening frame, neither team was able to take a commanding lead. The Bisons lived and died from the three-point line, with 12 of their 18 points coming from four shots from beyond the arc; Manitoba shot just 29.4 percent from the field. With the successful three-pointers, the home side was able to stay within striking distance, down just 23-18 after the quarter. Emma Thompson led the Bisons with six points in the opening frame, while Maria Mongomo led the visitors with seven of her 13 first half points.
UNBC was able to pull away from the Herd in the second quarter, going on an 8-0 run early on. The Bisons shooting struggles continued, shooting a dismal 13.6 percent in the quarter. Manitoba's defense held the Timberwolves to just 14 points in the frame, bailing out their offense which was only able to net six points. UNBC took a 37-24 lead, but it could have been much worse for the home team.
The Bisons began to shoot the ball better in the third quarter, finishing with a 43.8 percent from the field. Again the three-point shot was key for the home team, connecting on four in the quarter. The Manitoba defense also held the visitors to just 26.7 percent from the field. Thompson, Rebecca Potter, and Brittanie Parisien all had six points in the frame. Manitoba finished the third frame down by just seven points.
The Herd carried momentum into the final frame, opening on a 10-3 run to tie the game at 54 early on. Manitoba continued to shoot the ball well in the fourth, and held the Timberwolves to under 30 percent from the field again. The Bisons were able to take a 65-64 lead with just under 30 seconds to play, on a Keziah Brother's lay up. The defence came up big once again, stopping the Timberwolves and grabbing the rebound. Rebecca Potter was fouled late and connected on both free throws, to give Manitoba the 67-64 victory.
Both teams will be back in action on Feb. 3-4. Manitoba will travel to Brandon to take on the Bobcats, while the Timberwolves will be at UBC.