Late lost battles inside prove costly to Griffins in 57-46 loss to Wesmen

Noelle Kilbreath led the Griffins with 17 points and 11 rebounds (David Larkins photo).
Noelle Kilbreath led the Griffins with 17 points and 11 rebounds (David Larkins photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

WINNIPEG, Man. – Lost battles in the paint down the stretch proved to be the difference as the MacEwan Griffins fell 57-46 to the Winnipeg Wesmen in Canada West women's basketball action on Friday.

What was a two-point game with 5:07 left turned into a deficit the Griffins were unable to overcome in the waning minutes.

"It was a three-point game, and we had a stretch early in the fourth where we had a difficult time," said MacEwan head coach Katherine Adams. "They had eight (offensive) rebounds in the fourth quarter, and we sent them to the free-throw line 19 times. That was a big difference in the game, just giving them easy scores and second-chance opportunities after we didn't convert on the other end. 

"So, what was a three-point game ballooned into a nine-point game and there was just too little time left to overcome at the end."

With the result, the Griffins fall to 1-14, while the Wesmen improve to 4-11 in the Canada West standings.

Noelle Kilbreath led MacEwan with the second double double of her career (17 points and 11 rebounds), even though it wasn't her finest night offensively, going 5-for-20 from the field.

"Shots weren't falling early for her, and she found ways to get to the free-throw line to make things happen," said Adams. "She found her way on the boards to create. She had two assists, a steal and block, too. She found ways to insert herself in the game when shots weren't falling. 

"I think that's really rewarding to see that offensively maybe didn't have her best performance, but she still walked away with 17 and 11, which is a really, really impressive effort on the evening."

Toki Tsuzuki added 10 points and six boards, while Makenzie Reeve had 10 rebounds, four assists and four points for the Griffins.

Winnipeg's Carmen Hiebert had a double double (13 points and 12 boards), while Raia Guinto bucketed 18 and Anna Kernaghan scored 13.

The most notable team stat was Winnipeg winning the scoring off turnovers number (20-7).

The teams will meet again on Saturday (6 p.m. MT, Canada West TV) and Adams will be looking for some improvements.

"I think a couple things," she said. "One, just our discipline at the offensive end … at both ends, actually. Discipline in our scout and taking away the things we know they thrive on and have success off of – being able to make adjustments a little bit quicker. 

"They have some success in one area and we're able to adapt and take that away and force them to have to change the way that they play."