WBB: Third quarter surge pushes Horns past Timberwolves 77-71

February 1, 2019

It was a battle of two playoff-bound, evenly-matched squads, but it was the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns who used a dominant third quarter to take out the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves 77-71, Friday, February 1, 2019 in Prince George, B.C.

In the opening quarter, both the Horns and TWolves came out tentative, each turning the ball over a number of times. Kacie Bosch settled the visitors by getting to the hoop for buckets, but it was UNBC leading 18-16 after ten minutes.

The Timberwolves extended their lead early in the second quarter, led by Maria Mongomo and  Madison Landry, two of the top scorers in the conference. Asnate Fomina made a pair of three-pointers to keep Lethbridge in it, though, and the Timberwolves led 39-31 at half.

Whatever Horns coach Dave Waknuk told his team at halftime seemed to hit the spot, because Lethrbidge came out on fire in the third frame. Fomina and Bosch continued to shoot the ball well, but the inside presence of Katie Keith and Jessica Zarowny was enormous as second chance opportunities led to easy baskets. They outscored the Timberwolves 26-8 in the quarter, and held a ten point lead heading into the final stanza.

"We just needed to play as more of a team and get excited over all the little things,”said Bosch. “In the first half, we weren't having fun. We just decided that we were going to celebrate every single basket, and all those little things, and that's what really turned us around."

“They were playing fast, and more aggressively,” said UNBC’s Alina Shakirova. “We let them score too many easy baskets, and it was really hard to come back after that.”

In the fourth, every time UNBC closed the game to striking distance, Lethbridge would keep them at bay with a timely stop and basket at the other end.  The TWolves did make it a five point game with three minutes remaining, but that was as close as they came, falling 77-71.

Fomina was the top scorer for Lethbridge, notching 21 points, with five rebounds and two assists. Bosch had 16 points, six boards, and three assists, while Katie Keith was strong on the glass, grabbing 17 rebounds to go along with 12 points. Zarowny chipped in with 12 points of her own.

"They played really well as a team. They don’t have one special player, but rather a whole team of very good players," said Shakirova postgame.
"They play as a team, try their best, play aggressively, and they are really good on rebounds. They’re very good."

Landry and Mongomo each had 21 points to pace the Timberwolves, while Vasiliki Louka had 12 points, 20 rebounds, and seven assists.

“Obviously they have their three big scorers, so our gameplan was to try to shut them down,” said Bosch. “We knew they were going to get their points, but we had to make sure everyone was making an effort. They are really good players, but we got that W.”

With the victory, Lethbridge improves to 12-7, while the Timberwolves fall to 10-9. With one final game on the Canada West schedule, there is still much to be decided in the conference playoff picture.

“We need to make sure we play good defense and box out,” said Shakirova. “We have to do what we have to do, to make sure they don’t score easy baskets. That, and we have to be aggressive on offense.”

“This was really huge. We haven’t hosted a playoff game in a really time, but our program is on the up and up,” said Bosch. “We want to get our fans out to support. We need to come out with that same energy from the second half.”