Huge effort by Griffins against U SPORTS No. 1 Calgary undone by turnovers in 71-64 loss

Mackenzie Farmer drives to the hoop against Calgary's Mya Proctor. She finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds (Eduardo Perez photo).
Mackenzie Farmer drives to the hoop against Calgary's Mya Proctor. She finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds (Eduardo Perez photo).

Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – The scary thing is, if not for 33 turnovers – many of their own volition – the MacEwan Griffins women's basketball team might have posted a weekend sweep over the No. 1 team in U SPORTS.

Instead, they settled for a narrow loss in Saturday's rematch, falling 71-64 to the Calgary Dinos, for a split with their Central Division rivals after beating them 71-68 on Friday.

"Again, 33 turnovers is way too many," acknowledged Griffins head coach Katherine Adams. "You're not going to beat too many teams with that, but I thought even with 33 turnovers, we gave ourselves a chance.

"We didn't quite get the looks we wanted, but we fought and battled and got stops, and we were competitive. I'm so proud of the way the girls fought today."

Early on, it looked like the Griffins were on their way to pulling off a second-straight win over the Dinos as they played tough D, canned some clutch threes and looked like the better team as they took a 32-28 lead into half-time.

But turnovers that began to creep into their game in the second quarter became a full-blown game-killer in the second half. MacEwan managed to turn the ball over in nearly every possible way – stepping on the line, missing passes, dribbling off their own feet, watching the ball go out of bounds off them, etc. – and conceded a 12-0 Dinos third quarter run.

Even with all of that, they had the game tied 55-55 after Noelle Kilbreath made a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter and forced the Dinos to grind it out down the stretch for a result.

As Adams noted on Friday, even more important than the win was how hard they battled. And the same can be said for Saturday's result where the process is something they can build off of.

"For us to put together two back-to-back performances where we're competing with the No. 1 team in the country is a step in the right direction," she said.

With the result, the Griffins are now 1-3, while the Dinos move to 3-1 in the standings.

Annacy Palmer and Lily Pink both had 14 points to pace Calgary, while Pollyanna Storie bucketed 13 and Tiarra Davis chipped in 11.

Mackenzie Farmer recorded a monster double double for the Griffins with 12 points and 17 rebounds, while Kilbreath scored 17 points and Shannon Majeau had 16.

"At the start of the week, we talked about how she brings so much more than scoring and just to see that – 12 points, yes she's a threat and teams have to be aware of her, but 17 rebounds is huge," said Adams of Farmer, whose performance tied for the fourth-most boards in a single game in the program's Canada West history. "It's something we've really worked on, being better possession winners, punctuating plays and winning possession. She was really able to put a stamp on it tonight."

Adams also singled out the overall weekend for Mady Chamberlin, who earned praise for hitting the game-winning shot on Friday, but her underrated work on defence also stood out.

"Outside of Mady's heroic shot yesterday, what she does at the defensive end is unbelievable and it's something that goes unnoticed because it's not measured on the stats sheet," said Adams. "She is so tough defensively and gives us so much at that end. We're asking a lot of her to manage the ball, bring the ball up against pressure for 40 minutes and guard the other team's best player. That's a workload."

The Griffins will be back in action on Dec. 3-4 when they visit Lethbridge to close out the first semester. Next home action for the team is Jan. 14-15 vs. cross-town rival Alberta.