Huge collective effort on Senior Night nets Griffins a 77-69 win over Cougars

Mady Chamberlin drives in alone for a score against the Mount Royal University Cougars on Saturday night. She was one of four graduating seniors celebrated after the contest (Eduardo Perez photo).
Mady Chamberlin drives in alone for a score against the Mount Royal University Cougars on Saturday night. She was one of four graduating seniors celebrated after the contest (Eduardo Perez photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – They played their hearts out for their graduating seniors. They played for each other. And they played to win.

The MacEwan Griffins put forth one of their best efforts of the season in their final regular season home game of 2021-22, posting a 77-69 win over the Mount Royal University Cougars in Canada West women's basketball action Saturday night.

The result seals a weekend split for both teams after MRU won 75-71 on Friday, rallying back from 12 points down in the fourth quarter.

"It was a really great response from a disappointing performance last night," said MacEwan head coach Katherine Adams. "I think that ultimately the team knew they had to play together and it wasn't going to be one individual who got the job done, particularly with the way Mount Royal was playing. We couldn't take one on five.

"I thought they responded really well and they competed hard. Senior Night is a little extra motivation just to pour everything into those that are leaving and have given so much to the program over the years."

Following the contest, the Griffins celebrated the careers of four graduating seniors – Hannah Gibb, Darian Mahmi, Mady Chamberlin and Drew Knox.

While Knox didn't play in the contest due to an injury suffered last month, the other three were subbed out together with 23 seconds left as a fitting final curtain call to their stellar careers.

All three also contributed nicely to the victory, but Chamberlin particularly stood out with a career-high 16 points – hitting four of 11 threes, including a key one with 1:55 left that broke open a tie game.

"Mady has a knack when hitting shots when we need them.," said Adams. "She did it again today. I thought in the fourth quarter when they were making a push, Mady hit a huge three that shifted momentum for us. That's what vets do."

Darian Mahmi had five points, five rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in her final regular season home game as a Griffin (Eduardo Perez photo).

With the result, the Griffins finish the season with a 4-12 record, while MRU goes to 5-11.

It's entirely possible they'll meet each other in the first round of the playoffs on March 4. MacEwan will either finish as the 14th or 15th seed in Canada West and will face either the 12th or 13th – and MRU will be one of those – in the single-elimination opening round.

Regardless of who they play, Saturday was exactly the kind of effort that the Griffins will need to be successful in the post-season.

"We had two goals tonight," said Adams. "One was to honour and celebrate our seniors and the other was to build momentum heading into playoffs. And I think grinding out a tough win is a great way for us to head into this two-week period before playoffs."

Jenika Martens led the Cougars with a game-high 25 points on Saturday, while Rachel Osczevski recorded a double double (12 points and 14 rebounds).

Hayley Lalor produced 15 points and seven steals - the latter total tying for the second most in a single game by a Griffin since MacEwan joined Canada West in 2014 (Eduardo Perez photo).

Besides Chamberlin, MacEwan had three other players in double digits for points, led by Mackenzie Farmer – who had 17 points and eight rebounds – while Hayley Lalor bucketed 15 points and seven steals, the latter tying for the second-most in a single game in MacEwan's Canada West history.

Truthfully, though, it was a team effort through terrific ball movement that was the biggest reason why the Griffins came out with a win.

"We know particularly when Mount Royal sat in that zone, it's got to be a collective effort to get it done," said Adams. "When you do move the ball and get opportunities for other people, it usually comes back to you. And people capitalized today.

"I could go through and say something great about everybody. Everybody had their moment and everybody found a way to contribute tonight."