Oh glorious victory, thank you for finally bestowing the Dinos women's basketball team with your gift. May they continue to bask in the splendor you offer forever.
The previously 2-2 University of Alberta Pandas fell in a pair of games with the Dinos Nov. 11-12. The duo of wins bump the Dinos to 2-4, breaking a losing streak that extended into the pre-season and providing the young team with new confidence.
"After losing seven straight, I can't describe it," a relieved Tanya Hautala exclaimed. "It was great, and fun."
The first half of Friday's game started as messily as a hung-over morning. Both teams turned the ball over like it was going out of style--the Dinos 15 times and the Pandas 18. Fortunately, the Dinos capitalized on the opportunities created, leading 39-32 at the half.
The ladies continued to play smart in the second half, maintaining their lead rather than squandering it like a prosperity bonus. They stepped up their defense, holding the Pandas to just 24 points in the half while continuing to net points of their own. The final score read a shaming (if you're a Panda) 79-56.
Lindsay Maundrell was the Dinos' major offensive force, netting 23 points while adding five steals. Courtney Coyle accumulated 12 for the Dinos and Michelle Willson kept the Pandas in fear, netting 11 points and hauling down 11 boards before fouling out. Hautala rounded out the double-digit Dinos with 10 points and five steals.
The Dinos defense deserves a tip of the hat for allowing just one Panda to hit for double digits--10 from Michelle Smith--and stealing the ball 19 times throughout the game.
"The defense was very good this weekend," Head Coach Shawnee Harle confirmed. "On Saturday we went to zone in the second half and shut them right down."
And how. While Saturday's game began with the teams neck-and-neck, tied at 34 half way through the game, the Dinos turned on their auxiliary burners and left the Pandas stuck in the clouds as they approached escape velocity. Despite leading by just four points at 45-41, the Dinos managed to come out well ahead 72-49 at the final buzzer.
"Both first halves were pretty close," observed Maundrell. "But our defense was pretty tenacious, we really wore them down.
Hautala was the eve's top scorer and thief with 19 points and four steals. Jamie Morck netted 14 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds for the Dinos.
"We're taking steps in the right direction," Hautala claimed. "But there's still lots of room for improvement, which is exciting."
The Dinos travel to the University of Manitoba Nov. 18-19 to continue their winning streak against the Bisons. Harle had some wise words that should help instill confidence.
"Although we're getting closer, we're still not where we need to be," she admitted. "But the season is a marathon not a sprint."