Turnovers cost Griffins in 74-64 loss to Pronghorns

Noelle Kilbreath looks for the hoop after slipping between two Lethbridge defenders on Friday. She led the Griffins with a game-high 22 points (Eduardo Perez photo).
Noelle Kilbreath looks for the hoop after slipping between two Lethbridge defenders on Friday. She led the Griffins with a game-high 22 points (Eduardo Perez photo).

Jason Hills
For MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON — There are turnovers and then there are bad turnovers, and the MacEwan Griffins women's basketball team learned the hard way against the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Friday night.

Committing 30 turnovers in which the Pronghorns scored 32 points off of, the Griffins fell 74-64  at the David Atkinson Gym.

Second-year guard Noelle Kilbreath led MacEwan with 22 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists in a losing cause, while fourth-year point guard Mady Chamberlin 12 points, three rebounds and one block.

Fourth-year guard Jessica Haenni led the Pronghorns with 20 points, four rebounds and two assists, while fourth-year forward Haily Weaver had a double double with 14 points and 11 boards.

"It's those little lapses that hurt us," said Griffins head coach Katherine Adams.

"Every moment, every play matters, and you can't take a play off. It's those little moments where we caved to their pressure a little bit, but I know that's something we can learn from."

Both teams struggled in the opening quarter. The Griffins hit just three of 16 attempts (18.8%), while the Griffins tight defence forced 11 turnovers.

MacEwan held an 8-6 lead with 4:21 left, but then went ice cold, as the Pronghorns finished the quarter on a 10-0 run and held a 16-8 lead.

The Griffins continued to fight back in the second quarter as they started to find their shooting form, especially from beyond the arc as they hit 5-of-6 from three-point land, led by two treys from Chamberlin.

They closed the Pronghorns' lead to 31-30, but a last second turnover led to a long-range buzzer beater from Savannah McMahon, to give Lethbridge the 34-30 lead at the half.

MacEwan continued to scratch and claw their way throughout the third quarter and finally took back the lead as Kilbreath hit her first trey of the game – a buzzer beater of their own for a 50-47 lead at the end of the third.

"I'm really proud of our effort to get back in it. It wasn't our prettiest basketball, but I thought the girls fought hard and when things weren't going our way, we scrapped and clawed to get back in the game," said Adams.

Mackenzie Farmer runs into a double team from the Pronghorns on Friday (Eduardo Perez photo).

After giving up the lead, the Pronghorns upped their intensity and continued to pressure MacEwan, particularly under the basket on inbound plays. Lethbridge was able to capitalize on some miscues throughout the game, and they took over the glass in the fourth to take control of the game.

After a driving layup from Kilbreath made it 52-50, the Pronghorns went to work.

Weaver hit a jumper to give the Pronghorns a 54-52 lead, and moments later off a turnover, Haenni cashed in a corner trey to make it 57-52.

The Pronghorns went on a 12-0 run midway through the quarter to put the game out of reach

"To take the lead heading into the fourth was big for us. But a few lapses in the fourth really hurt us. We gave up eight offensive rebounds that resulted in nine points, and that was really the difference," said Adams.

"You can contest shots and make it tough, but when you give them those extra opportunities, it's tough to gain momentum.

"They applied a bit more pressure and we didn't execute the way we would've liked in those moments, and we needed to use that pressure against and create scoring opportunities, and we didn't do that enough."

MacEwan (2-9) will look to snap their mini two-game losing streak as they finish off their weekend series against Lethbridge (7-4) on Saturday. Tip-off is 5 p.m. at the David Atkinson Gym (Canada West TV presented by Co-op).