EDMONTON — The University of Alberta Pandas can take some valuable lessons from their heartbreaking overtime loss to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, Saturday night at Saville Community Sports Centre. Alberta overcame a disastrous start to fight back and lead by five points in the final minute before it slipped away and the Pandas dropped a 90-85 overtime decision.
Sophomore guard Jenna Harpe set a career high with 23 points and tied her personal record with five treys in the loss. Emma Kary recorded 19 points and eight rebounds for Alberta.
Third-year power forward Keylyn Filewich led UBC with 31 points and 10 rebounds, while Maddison Penn chipped in with 20 points and eight rebounds.
The Pandas finish the Canada West regular season with a 15-5 record, while UBC wraps up conference play with a 14-6 record.
“It was a game of runs and we got off to a great start, but they really pushed back. Wwe had another run in us and we did some good things down the stretch to force overtime,” said Thunderbirds head coach Deb Huband.
“It was an example of never quitting and keep battling. I’m not sure everyone on our bench believed we’d come back from that deficit, but we did.”
Alberta shot just 13.6% in the first quarter on 3-of-22 shooting, but despite falling behind 25-11, they kept their composure and were able to go on a monster 17-1 run to close the large deficit to 38-34 at the half. The Pandas pushed the pace to close out the first half and really had UBC in disarray.
“To start the game shooting 13% is abnormal for our team and to do it at home was disappointing, but you have to give full credit to UBC, I thought they played fantastic the whole game,” said Pandas head coach Scott Edwards.
“I’m very proud of our team. We showed a lot of resiliency in that second quarter and the rest of the game. We started shooting the ball and we stepped up our defence.”
UBC went on another strong run in the third quarter, but Alberta kept them in their sights and Harpe’s sharpshooting with back-to-back treys early in the fourth quarter gave Alberta their first lead.
Alberta was up 78-73 in the dying moments of the game, but a bad defensive lapse led to Penn making three foul shots and Jess Hanson hit a jumper off the glass to tie it at 78-78 with 0.7 seconds on the clock.
“Kids have to hit shots, and you have to credit Maddison (Penn) hitting the free throws and for (Kate) Johnson to hit that pull-up shot,” said Edwards.
“It was an incredible shot. They made plays in the last couple minutes and we didn’t and we have to learn from it.”
UBC went on a 14-4 run late in the fourth quarter and into overtime to take over the game. The Pandas looked out of sorts after UBC forced OT.
“They got frustrated and we didn’t play with any composure and that was frustrating,” said Edwards.
“But this is something we’re going to have to learn from. They got rattled in the moment and we didn’t play as well as we liked defensively."
Alberta finishes the regular season in fourth place in the Canada West standings and earn a first-round playoff bye, while UBC will finish in fifth place and open the playoffs next weekend at home in Vancouver against the Winnipeg Wesmen.