Griffins Women's Basketball Sweep Opening Weekend
To tip off the start to their regular season, the MacEwan University women’s basketball team played a home and home series with the Augstana Vikings last weekend. The women would get their first wins of the year on the road in Camrose last Friday by a score of 82-64, and 59-39 in their home opener at MacEwan’s City Centre Campus gym.
On Friday, the Griffins were trailing by a point after the first quarter, but finished the game strong, dominating the Vikings in every category, doubling them in steals and posting a 43.7 per cent shooting average from the floor.
In their home opener on Saturday, the Griffins picked up where they left off the day before, going into the half protecting a 27-19 point lead.
Halfway through the third quarter, the Vikings made a strong push, narrowing the lead to only four points. It was at this moment head coach Rob Poole called a crucial timeout to settle his team down.
“I’ve been preaching to my players all year that it’s a 40 minute game and we need to play those full 40 minutes,” Poole continued. “So during one of our timeouts I just reminded our team to keep playing their game, keep making smart decisions with and without the ball and continue to take quality shots.”
The timeout would pay off in spades for the Griffins, as they went on to outscore their opponent 18-6 in the fourth quarter.
The Griffins were led in points by Nathalie Kiernan who was all over both sides of the court, notching 12 points and seven defensive rebounds. Bayan Kurd also had a strong outing, going two for five on three point shots ending with nine points on the night. Kristen Monasterski also led the team with five offensive rebounds.
With 50 per cent of the Griffins players being rookies, it was first year Jessilyn Fairbanks who shone the brightest in the home opener, leading her team with five steals, three offensive rebounds and adding nine points. Fairbanks was named the Hudson’s Player of the Game for the Griffins.
“It’s a great feeling being honoured so early in the year, it’s really encouraging. I thought our whole team played really well out there,” said Fairbanks after the game.
Head coach Rob Poole continued to praise his rookie in his post-game comments, “I’ve coached Jessilyn during my time at Harry Ainlay, so I had an idea of what she was going to bring to our team. She’s fast and has a great awareness on the court; she knows where to put the ball in a lot of situations. I think she is going to have a promising future with our team.”
With their victories on the weekend, the women remain unbeaten this year, winning all nine preseason games. The women’s team will host two games against Grande Prairie next Friday and Saturday at the City Centre Campus with games starting at 6pm and 1pm respectively.
(Story by Kris Kinash)