The UNBC women’s basketball team faced another tough test this past Friday Night before a capacity crowd at the Northern Sport Center as they took on highly touted VIU. Unfortunately, they would be without their leading scorer Jennifer Clyne because of injury. On this night, they did not seem to miss her as the T-Wolves held off the Mariners 60-52. This victory takes the T-Wolves to 5-0 in the PACWEST. At this point the lady T-Wolves look unstoppable and continue to ride high after last week’s final second overtime victory against Capilano and now defeating VIU shorthanded.
This Timberwolves started off the game strong jumping out to a 16-10 lead after the first quarter. Then the Timberwolves made their push and showcased their depth by outscoring the Mariners 19-7 in the second quarter. The UNBC bench outscored the Mariners 18-2 in the game, as highlighted by major contributions from players Kady Danadeneau, Sarah Robin, and Maria Neumann. Furthermore, much of VIU’s offensive struggles can be linked to their 12 missed free throws and 18 turnovers. The Timberwolves played another defensively sound game by limiting VIU point guard Kayla Gromme to only 1/5 shooting in the first half.
However, the Mariners showed a lot of determination and grit in the second half. The Mariners outscored the T-Wolves 35-25 in the second half and played more like the team we all expected at the beginning of the game. Shayna Worthington led the way for VIU by score 20 of her game high 22 points in the second half. Unfortunately, for VIU their first half deficit where they shot only 7/35 and did not score a single point until 5:06 in the first quarter was too much to make up for. Consequently, this young PACWEST season has shown how good of a team UNBC is when they have a lead. The Timberwolves did not forfeit a single lead in this game, which is credit to their vaunted defence. Starting point guard Jennifer Knibbs matched up one on one all night with VIU guard Kayla Gromme and made her much of a non-factor throughout the game. Plus, the Mariners failed to establish much of a low court presence in this game and failed to limit the T-Wolves frontcourt in the paint. The Timberwolves outscored the Mariners 38-14 in the paint and all three starting forwards from the Timberwolves scored in double figures.
UNBC starting guard Mercedes VanKoughnett carried her team for much of the game, finishing with a near double double of 9 points and 9 rebounds en route to ‘player of the game’ honours. Additionally VanKoughnett made many critical defensive stops and loose balls during many of the VIU surges in the second half, which kept the momentum with the home team. This game marks another impressive performance for the UNBC women’s basketball team, as they were able to defeat a quality opponent shorthanded for the entirety of a game. As for VIU, they can easily point to their lackluster second quarter and 12 missed free throws as a major difference in this game. It is difficult to gauge if this performance from VIU is an indicator of their true talent or not. However, at this time it is clear that both of these teams will have a major role in determining the outcome of how the PACWEST will shape out this season.