Griffins limit Wesmen star, but veteran visitors' depth too much in 74-59 defeat

Rookie Toni Gordon had a breakout game for the Griffins, bucketing 12 points (Eduardo Perez photo).
Rookie Toni Gordon had a breakout game for the Griffins, bucketing 12 points (Eduardo Perez photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – You'd think holding Canada West leading scorer Kyanna Giles to her lowest offensive output of the season would mean you'd be celebrating a win at the end of the night.

You'd be wrong.

Despite limiting the Winnipeg Wesmen star to 13 points (after giving up 33 to her the night previous), the MacEwan Griffins were on the losing end of a Canada West women's basketball battle 74-59 on Saturday.

"I thought we were better today," said MacEwan head coach Katherine Adams. "I thought we competed smarter. I thought we did a better job on some individuals to take away their strengths, but as great teams do, when you take away one scoring option they find another. 

"It's a very savvy, veteran team and they did a really good job of that today."

Unable to find much space for herself offensively, Giles simply went to work on the boards, grabbing a game-high 14 of them (for a double double) and helped others shine. Raizel Guinto was the offensive star on this night, leading the Wesmen with a game-high 20 points and eight steals.

"We limited Giles in the first half, but she did a really great job of finding her teammates in positions where they could be successful," said Adams. "It's something I think we can really learn from, just how to dig in and get stops when we need them to not give teams those cushions, so we're not in the position where we're having to play catch-up at the end."

Other than an early 10-4 lead, which the Wesmen erased before the end of the first quarter, the Griffins chased for most of the contest. Frustratingly, the carrot was just out of reach as they never could pull even.

MacEwan's cause was further hurt by 24 turnovers, albeit many of them coming late when they were taking risks to try and close the gap.

"We couldn't quite get over that hump," said Adams. "We made some big plays, some big rebounds, put-backs and a couple big threes that really kept us in it, but ultimately … I said to the team in the fourth quarter we have to stop trading baskets. Trading baskets, we're going to be in the same position we're in right now and we want to close this gap. 

"It's learning how to do that against some great players in this league. For some of our young players, the experience they're getting in doing that we hope will serve us well down the road and this will pay us back eventually."

Rookie Toni Gordon had a breakout game for the Griffins with 12 points, seven rebounds and a block (on Giles, no less).

"She is so dynamic," said Adams. "Just her quick jumping ability to rebound and her nose for the ball is incredible. Four offensive rebounds for us today was huge. She found some range today on a three. It was a big one. Her athleticism really showcases itself when you let her go. It's fun to watch."

Veteran Mackenzie Farmer led the Griffins with 19 points, while Shannon Majeau recorded a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Hayley Lalor hit 11 points.

Julia Schatkowsky added 12 points for Winnipeg, while Robyn Boulanger chipped in 10.

Next up, the Griffins head out on the road, finishing the first semester at Thompson Rivers University on Dec. 2-3.