Offensive boards and turnovers cost Griffins in 75-41 loss to Thunderbirds

Julie Dueck led the Griffins with nine points on Friday (Robert Antoniuk photo).
Julie Dueck led the Griffins with nine points on Friday (Robert Antoniuk photo).

Jason Hills 
For MacEwan Athletics 
EDMONTON – Without their leading scorer and captain, Noelle Kilbreath in their lineup, the MacEwan Griffins knew it would be a tall task against the UBC Thunderbirds. 

They held their own for stretches, but UBC dominated the offensive glass and forced MacEwan into too many turnovers, as the Griffins fell 75-41 on Friday night at the David Atkinson Gym. 

"That was the difference for us – O-boards and turnovers. You work so hard to play tough D, and you get them to miss and they get another chance, and it's deflating on your defence when that happens," said Griffins head coach Katherine Adams. 

The Griffins gave up 26 offensive rebounds, were outrebounded 51-28 and committed 31 turnovers in the loss. 

With the result, MacEwan falls to 0-7, while UBC improves to 7-2 this season. 

 "We let their pressure get to us when we faced it, and we just panicked," said Adams. "That gave them opportunities to get some easy scores. They scored 48 points off of second chance points and turnovers. That really paints a picture." 

Julie Dueck led MacEwan with nine points and two assists, while Unity Obasuyi scored seven points and three rebounds in the loss. 

Olivia Weekes led UBC with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while captain Mona Berlitz recorded 11 points and 13 rebounds. They hauled in 14 offensive rebounds between the two of them. 

UBC jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but MacEwan was able to battle back and cut UBC's lead to just 12-8 after the opening 10 minutes. 

MacEwan kept pace with UBC and were able to cut the T'Birds lead to 25-21 after a three-pointer from Toki Tsuzuki. The Griffins held UBC to just 35% shooting in the first half, and their defence forced 13 turnovers of their own. 

"I think we generated some great opportunities, we just didn't finish the end of the play. The offensive rebounds and turnovers are glaring, but I think we did some good things at both ends of the ball that we can build on," said Adams. 

Without their leader on the floor, UBC was able to take advantage of the Griffins young lineup on the court in the second half. They continued to put full court pressure on in the second half, and after some shooting struggles in the first half, they started to find their shot. 

They started the second half on a 12-4 run to extend their lead, and they didn't look back as they finished the third quarter strong and held MacEwan to just seven points in the fourth quarter. 

"We have a really young team this year. Every player on our roster is in a new role this year and it's about learning and adapting and adjusting to what's needed in the heat of the moment through competition, and it's a learning curve, and I think we take what we can from this," said Adams. 

"We don't have Noelle in the lineup. She is a steady reliable scorer for us, and you take that out, and now people are finding new roles and how they can best contribute on the offensive end." 

MacEwan will no doubt look to have a better effort on the offensive glass and limit their turnovers in Saturday's rematch. 

"They rebound the ball really well at the offensive end, and we knew that coming in that it would be a battle," said Adams. 

"Our girls now know what it will take going up against them, and we're going to have to attack the basket much harder tomorrow. We know how physical they are, and we have to match that if we want to give ourselves a chance."  

MacEwan will wrap up their weekend series with UBC and their first half of conference play on Saturday (3 p.m., David Atkinson Gym, Canada West TV).