SASKATOON – For the fourth time in five years and second season in a row the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women's basketball team are best in the west after they defeated the Alberta Pandas by a score of 62-51 in front over 2,500 fans inside the PAC Friday night.
The Huskies newly-named Canada West All-Stars Sabine Dukate and Summer Masikewich led the way in the game, knocking down 17 points apiece. Masikewich, who was named to the first all-star team, also pulled down 10 rebounds while adding a dagger of a three-pointer late in the fourth on her first attempt from beyond-the-arc all season long.
Vanessa Wild, also a first team all-star, had a game-high 18 points while also pulling down 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
"That atmosphere was fantastic, for this community and this school to put on a show like this was great for our athletes to be a part of. I thought we came out tentative in the first half, didn't shoot the ball very well and that really hurt us," said Pandas head coach Scott Edwards. "I'm incredibly proud of our team's resilience and the way they fought back in the second half. It came down to the last couple minutes and the Huskies made some shots."
After a back-and-forth first quarter that saw the Huskies outscore the Pandas 19-13, the Huskies defence went to work in the second.
A team that allowed just 49.5 points per-game in the regular season – the lowest total in Canada West since 2009-10 – limited Alberta to just five points on 2-16 shooting in the second quarter en route to taking a 32-18 lead into the half.
Alberta responded in the third however.
Wild led the team on a 9-0 run during the middle of the third before cutting the lead down to just two with less than 20 seconds remaining in the frame.
The veterans of the Huskies stepped up in the fourth.
Dukate started the final quarter with an immediate three-pointer followed up by a layup from Masikewich that gave the Huskies a six-point lead that they wouldn't surrender.
With just over two minutes remaining Masikewich provided the dagger when she hit the three-pointer to put the game out of reach and send the Huskies to another Canada West title.
Both teams will get the chance for national glory next weekend when they head to the U SPORTS National Championships in Ottawa, Ont. from March 5-8.