(HALIFAX, N.S.) The defending AUS women’s basketball champions, the UPEI Panthers (1st seed), started their title defense with a 69-50 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers (8th seed) on Thursday night.
Katie Crombeen (Calgary, AB) opened the scoring for Dalhousie and the Tigers held the defending champs off the scoreboard for the first five minutes. UPEI scored their first basket at the 4:51 mark when first-year guard Alicia Bowering (Orangeville, Ont.) sank a three-point shot.
It was the first of three three-pointers which gave the Panthers a 14-4 lead after the first quarter. While the Tigers slightly narrowed the lead, UPEI were up 28-17 after the first half.
Subway Player of the Game Carolina Del Santo (Barcelona, Spain) had 23 rebounds for the Panthers and showed why she was named AUS defensive player of the year in 2022, her third time winning the award. The Panthers finished the game with seven steals compared to two for the Tigers.
The Panthers continued to find success from beyond the arc, making five of 21 three-point attempts in the first half, including three each from Bowering and first-year guard Grace Lancaster (Fall River, NS).
Third-year forward Lia Kentzler (Göttingen, Germany) kept the Tigers in the half with 10 rebounds and six points. Kentzler was Dalhousie’s Subway Player of the Game after finishing with 15 rebounds and 16 points.
Throughout the third quarter, the Tigers continued to chip away at the lead, taking advantage of opportunities from fouls. Dalhousie had seven points from the free-throw line as the Tigers outscored the Panthers 21-19 in the third frame.
It was the Panthers turn to find success from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter with Lauren Rainford (Toronto, Ont.) making six free throws. Yesterday, the second-year guard received the 2021-22 AUS student-athlete community service award.
A layup by Anna Parsons (Calgary, AB) made it a two-possession game midway through the fourth quarter before the Panthers went on a nine-point run as they went on to outscore the Tigers 22-12 in the final quarter.
The Panthers finished 23 of 71 (32.4%) from the field while the Tigers were 17 of 63 (27%). UPEI also found success with three-pointers, completing 10 of 36 attempts (27.8%) compared to 2 of 15 (13.3%) for the tigers.
The Panthers move on to the semifinals on Saturday, March 19 at 1 p.m., taking on the winner of the Cape Breton vs. Memorial quarter-final. Watch every game of the 2022 Subway AUS Basketball Championships on AUStv.ca.
Recap by Jonathan Briggins