EDMONTON – Despite erasing an early double-digit deficit, the University of Alberta Pandas fell to the No.2 University of Calgary Dinos by an 88-66 score in the first game of a home-and-home weekend series, Thursday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Senior guard Vanessa Wild led the home team with 12 points while fourth-year forward Brooklyn Legault recorded her second career double-double, netting 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Captain Erin McIntosh tallied a game-high 25 points for the visitors while fourth-year wing Bobbi-Jo Colburn and third-year guard Liene Stalidzane notched 21 points apiece.
The win improves Calgary’s record to 16-1, maintaining first place in the Canada West standings while Alberta falls to 14-3, still remaining in third place with a game in hand on the fourth-place UBC Thunderbirds.
After senior guard Megan Tywoniuk opened the scoring, the Dinos responded with an 8-1 run, McIntosh scoring half the baskets over that stretch.
The Dinos stayed hot as the first quarter continued, building the score up to 23-13 before senior guard Sascha Lichtenwald increased the lead further by stealing the ball underneath the Panda net for a fast bucket.
Alberta scored the next five points but their provincial rival got the lead back up to double digits, earning a 29-18 lead after 10 minutes.
The second quarter went the Pandas’ way, however, the combination of Alberta defence and missed Calgary shots leading to a 15-4 run by the hosts for the first eight and a half minutes, the Pandas regaining the lead for the first time since the opening basket.
After exchanging the lead a few times, the Alberta comeback was short-lived though, the Dinos managing to take a 39-38 lead into halftime before jumping on the home team to open the third frame with an early 12-4 and outscoring their opponents 22-8 in the quarter.
Down by 15 to start the final frame, the Pandas tried once again to erase the big deficit, but two McIntosh shots from long-distance with just over two minutes left cemented the victory, pushing the score in the other direction by increasing the nationally-ranked team’s lead to over 20.
The two squads will finish the weekend series in Calgary on Saturday, game time at 5:00 p.m. MT.