T-Birds drop second straight vs first place Cougars
01/27/2023 | 5 p.m. PT
Jan 27 (Fri) / 5pm (PT)
Story VANCOUVER — The UBC Thunderbirds (9-5) fought back after a slow start but fell short in a 73-64 loss to the Regina Cougars (12-2) Saturday night at War Memorial Gym.
“We had a rough start in the first,” said UBC head coach Erin McAleenan after the T-Birds held western Canada’s second-best offense to under-80 points in both games over the weekend. “There were a few last-minute line-up changes for us and not having Katie Hartman on the floor makes a huge difference for us defensively. It was very impressive to keep them down to just eight points in the second quarter, and in the third quarter “We really started to get the offense going. Of course it would have been great to limit them even more, but they’re a really good team .Two nights in a row against a talented top team…I found our defense to be consistent overall and our offense was better tonight.At the end of the day we need to put a few more in.Sara Toneguzzi has really improved,Olivia Weekes has didn’t get a lot of calls but still got a double-double in twenty minutes, Emily Martindale was so stable as a veteran and leader, and Hailey Counsell stepped up today and defended particularly well for us.
Toneguzzi went off the field with 17 points in the second half – ending with 19 points, Martindale added 13 points with eight boards and Weekes added 12 points and 13 boards in another great performance by the Birds. Zoe Hartman and Jade Belmore each had 14 points for the Cougars, with Belmore catching 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals in the win. Cara Misskey had 11 points with four steals while Dayna Pearce had 10 points and seven rebounds in the win.
A misskey three gave the Cougars a 13-8 lead in the first game, but Sofia Bergman countered with a three of her own to keep UBC within striking distance. Regina continued her execution, leading 25-13 into the second quarter as the ‘Birds struggled to get an offensive start. Martindale opened the second quarter with a three and the T-Birds made it a 10-point game when Counsell Emilia found Banmann in the suit for a quick jumper at 28-18 Cougars. Martindale drove to the basket late in the half for a hard finish to cut Regina’s lead to seven, and Counsell sped down the lane and deflated a floater for a 33-28 deficit at halftime.
UBC’s offense came to life in the third part, thanks in part to eight quick points from Toneguzzi. The sophomore guard lost a pair of threes and hit a layup at 42-41 before Weekes equalized with one and one at 46-46. Toneguzzi wasn’t done yet – pulling up a long jumper and throwing it off the top of the key, but Weekes was called out for their fourth foul with 1:34 in the third and the Cougars led 56-50 after three. Toneguzzi’s hot second-half streak continued with a three-pointer and a layup at 66-61 Regina in the fourth, but Lauren Hodgins restored the visitors’ lead to nine points with back-to-back buckets and the Cougars held at 73-64- victory feast .
?? WBB | After three quarters, @UBCWBBall is trailing @ReginaCougarWBB 56-50, a big fourth quarter is coming! #GoBirdsGo pic.twitter.com/2gROv7zSE1
— UBC Thunderbirds (@ubctbirds) January 22, 2023
“Home field advantage is always important,” McAleenan said. “Especially the shooting. I’m not sure if it really showed this weekend but hopefully in the second term we’ll be able to get our feet under us and take some steps forward against UBCO next weekend do.”
The T-Birds will look to return to the Victory Column next weekend against the UBCO Heat on Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. while Regina returns home to take on the Lethbridge Pronghorns for a two-game -Series to receive Saskatchewan.