Colossal collective effort leads Griffins to first win over rival Pandas since joining Canada West in 2014

Hayley Lalor led four Griffins scorers in double digits with a career-high 21 points in MacEwan's 85-74 win over Alberta on Friday night (Robert Antoniuk photo).
Hayley Lalor led four Griffins scorers in double digits with a career-high 21 points in MacEwan's 85-74 win over Alberta on Friday night (Robert Antoniuk photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – They're beginning to gain a reputation for toppling giants.

For the second time this season, the MacEwan Griffins women's basketball team took down one of the top teams in U SPORTS, beating the No. 4-ranked University of Alberta Pandas in their own gym 85-74 on Friday night.

It's the first time in 14 tries since joining Canada West in 2014 that the Griffins have beaten their cross-town rivals.

The victory also comes in the same season MacEwan beat a U SPORTS No. 1 after they edged then-top-ranked Calgary 71-68 on Nov. 12.

 "It was a really great team effort," said MacEwan head coach Katherine Adams. "We attacked well today and took a collective responsibility for just getting the job done.

"Everyone took responsibility on themselves and contributed how they could. We were a little bit short-handed today and that gives you the motivation to step up and do some things you're not used to doing or expected to do and it worked out really well for us. We got contributions from a lot of different people in a lot of different ways."

MacEwan improves to 3-10, dropping Alberta to 9-2 after the result.

Four Griffins players hit double digits in points – Hayley Lalor (21), Noelle Kilbreath (19), Mackenzie Farmer (15) and Hannah Gibb (13) – while rookie Mikah Reed chipped in nine for the top scoring game of her career to date.

Emma Kary led Alberta with 22 points, while Claire Signatovich produced a double double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

The Griffins shot the lights out at 48.3 per cent from the field (29/60) and 52.2 per cent (12/23) from beyond the arc.

"We said all year we haven't quite seen a game when we're clicking on all cylinders and we're seeing everybody at their best," said Adams. "I wouldn't say we're quite there yet, but we're getting closer.

"I could point to every single player and comment on the things they did well and how they contributed to this. For some, it was scoring, for some rebounding, for some it was getting into the paint, drawing help and finding open teammates. A lot of really good contributions from everybody."

And Lalor was front and centre in that effort, coming up with a career game offensively with 21 points, adding six rebounds, three assists and three steals in a marathon 38 minutes on the court.

"Amazing," marveled Adams. "What a great night for Hayley – a career high. It's something we've known she's capable of, but she's just taken on different roles within our team. Tonight being short-handed, she had the ball in her hands a little bit more. She hit some shots and was able to make some plays at the end of the clock to really drive that scoring."

Rookie Mikah Reed had her best game as a Griffin, bucketing nine points (Robert Antoniuk photo).

The other area where the Griffins were able to turn the tide on a U of A team that had beaten them twice earlier this season, was on the windows.

"Alberta's a very tough offensive rebounding team and they still brought that today, but I thought our effort on the glass was really well done just to secure possession and give us more opportunity to get scoring chances," said Adams whose team nearly matched the Pandas on boards with 37 to their 40.

The teams will meet again on Saturday (5 p.m., Saville Centre, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).