Inconsistency, fatigue factor into Griffins' 72-56 loss to Pronghorns

Hannah Gibb passes over the head of Lethbridge’s Makenna Ledgister on Saturday (Eduardo Perez photo).
Hannah Gibb passes over the head of Lethbridge’s Makenna Ledgister on Saturday (Eduardo Perez photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – It was a bit like Whac-A-Mole.

Just when one thing started working well for the MacEwan Griffins, another part of their game went south. Wait a couple minutes and vice-versa – the previously strong part switched places with the weak one.

All of that inconsistency added up to a 72-56 loss to the Lethbridge Pronghorns in Canada West women's basketball action on Saturday night.

"It's difficult to look at this game and identify one thing," said MacEwan head coach Katherine Adams. "It was a combination of a lot of different things that didn't go our well today. Some of it we generated good scoring opportunities and just didn't make shots, which puts pressure on your defence to have to perform.

"I thought our defence actually did a pretty good job. We focused on being a little more physical and winning more of the rebound battle today, which, at times, we did. But then our offence went down. We just couldn't get in a rhythm offensively, which then presents a different situation defensively."

With the result, the Griffins fall to 2-10, while the Pronghorns improve to 8-4.

In fairness, the contest was MacEwan's fifth in the past eight days due to the fact they played a rescheduled game against Alberta on Wednesday. That, no doubt, led to some fatigue mentally and physically on Saturday.

"Absolutely," agreed Adams. "If you look at the course of the season and we go from Dec. 4 to Jan. 14 without playing a game and we didn't even have enough to five-on-five in practice for a period of time there. Then you're thrown into the fire where it's five games in eight days.

"It was challenging for the athletes to prepare for that through different opponents who play a different style. It certainly played a factor at the end of this long stretch."

Shannon Majeau puts up a shot under pressure from Lethbridge's Kyra Collier on Saturday (Eduardo Perez photo).

On the flip side, that should prepare the Griffins well for the March 4-6 Canada West playoff tournament where, if they win the first game, would be preparing immediately face a new opponent.

"It's sort of a test of your character a little bit and your toughness and grittiness, and how you're able to push through that and make changes on the fly. I think that will prepare us well heading into the playoffs. It's an experience that is difficult in the moment, but it will help us in the long run."

Mackenzie Farmer and Noelle Kilbreath co-led the Griffins with 11 points each and both fouled out of the contest late in the fourth quarter. Shannon Majeau was close to a double double with nine points and eight rebounds.

Haily Weaver led the Pronghorns with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Savannah McMahon had 14 points, Jessica Haenni 11 and Amy Mazuntinec 10.

The Pronghorns started taking over the contest late in the first quarter and opened up a 34-22 advantage at the half.

Behind some strong defence and good ball movement on offence, the Griffins closed to within seven points late in the third quarter. But just when it appeared they might get back in the game, they started missing shots and faced another double-digit deficit after Mazuntinec's three-pointer.

The Pronghorns were able to hold court after that, withstanding one more furious rally attempt by the Griffins late in the game as MacEwan went on a 10-1 run to close within 13, but ultimately fell short.

"We'll take a look at film and re-evaluate our priorities moving forward and how we can improve on them," said Adams.

Next up for the Griffins is a road series across the river against Alberta on Feb. 11-12 at the Saville Centre.