EDMONTON – Asnate Fomina scored a game-high 22 points, as the visiting Lethbridge Pronghorns earned a surprising 90-66 Game 1 win over the Alberta Pandas, Thursday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
The Pronghorns trailed 10-0 early in the first quarter, before responding and taking the lead before the end of the quarter. They never trailed again, pulling away for a dominant win in the opener of their quarter-final series in Edmonton.
Five Pronghorns finished with double-digit point totals, as Kacie Bosch (17), Danielle Fritzke (15), Amy Mazutinec (13) and Jessica Zarowny (10) also chipped in offensively. Lethbridge finished the night shooting 46%, compared to just 37% from Alberta.
Emma Kary led Alberta with 13 points on 5/11 shooting, while Jenna Harpe added 11 on 3/15.
The Pandas opened the first red-hot, hitting on four of their first five shots to take the early 10-0 lead. The Pronghorns, however, bounced back with a hot stretch of their own, eventually tying the game at 15’s, before taking a 29-26 lead after 10 minutes. The two teams combined to shoot 63% in the first, hitting on 22 of their 35 shots.
Both teams cooled off considerably in the second, as each team’s defensive pressure and aggression picked up. The Pronghorns were just marginally better, outscoring the Pandas 18-11, extending their lead to 10. Amy Mazutinec finished off the second with a successful three-point play with 1.2 seconds left, as the visitors held a 47-37 edge after 20.
Lethbridge continued to make timely buckets in the third, as they started to pull away from Alberta. Fomina added another seven points, finishing with 22 after three. After their rocket start, the Pandas couldn’t regain their offensive rhythm, shooting just 23.5% in the third.
After their torrid start, the Pandas looked lost offensively, struggling to penetrate the Lethbridge interior defence. Their outside game also failed to materialize, as they shot just 4/18 from beyond the arc. Lethbridge was lethal from deep all night, hitting on 10 of their 21 shots from three.
Ball control also undid Alberta on Thursday, as they doubled up Lethbridge in turnovers, finishing with 24 compared to 12 from the visitors. Both teams scored 17 in the fourth, as Lethbridge held on for the 24-point win.
Game 2 of the best-of-three quarter-final series goes tomorrow night at Saville, with tip-off scheduled for 6:00 p.m.