Axewomen make dramatic comeback to win 2022 AUS title

Photo by Nick Pearce
Photo by Nick Pearce

(HALIFAX, N.S.) The Acadia Axewomen are AUS champions again, winning its third banner in the past four championships. 

The Axewomen had a dramatic 71-65 comeback win over the Cape Breton Capers (4th seed), led by AUS most valuable player of the year, Jayda Veinot (Port Williams, N.S.) to secure the 2022 Subway AUS Basketball Championship.

Also named tournament MVP and Subway player of the game, Veinot had 34 points, including 23 points in the second half.

Second team all-star Elizabeth Beals-Iseyemi (Dartmouth, N.S.) opened the scoring for Acadia as the two teams exchanged baskets early on, but it was the Capers who controlled the score for most of the game.

Hard work in the paint by Capers rookie of the year Kiyara Letlow (Toronto, Ont.) drew a foul and her two free throws played a part in CBU taking a 19-15 lead after the first quarter. 

CBU guard Chermensa van la Parra (Rotterdam, Netherlands) was instrumental in giving her team a comfortable lead late in the second half. She made a three-pointer, two free throws and a defensive rebound that led to another basket in a seven-point run. 

The Capers went to the dressing room with a 36-22 lead at halftime, led by 13 points from van la Perra and 14 rebounds from Letlow. 

Axewomen head coach Len Harvey had a conversation with Jayda Veinot on the sideline late in the first half as the MVP struggled early on, going five-for-14 from the field, bringing Acadia’s deficit down to single digits. 

The Capers responded, going four-for-four from the free-throw line in the final minutes of the third quarter, finishing the third up 50-41.

Once again, Veinot came out shooting hot in the fourth quarter, with two baskets and a three-pointer to make it a two-possession game. It sparked a run of 12 unanswered points, giving the Axewomen its first lead since the opening basket of the game.

All-star rookie Letlow responded for the Capers, with a layup and free throw to restore the CBU lead as the teams went back-and-forth with the lead.

Acadia fans at the Scotiabank Centre started an M-V-P chant in the final two minutes after Veinot made a three-pointer.

But CBU’s fans had their own chance to cheer when MacKenzee Ryan (Glace Bay, N.S.) sunk a three-pointer to bring the score back to within two points. Ryan finished the game with nine points. 

Ultimately, it was Acadia who were able to control the score at the end, with Beals-Iseyemi making two baskets along with Sarah Delorey (Elmsdale, N.S.) adding insurance.

Chermensa van la Parra led CBU with 21 points while making three of five three-point attempts. Letlow finished the afternoon with 19 rebounds and 17 points.

Both Beals-Iseyemi and Veinot of the Axewomen were named to the tournament all-star team along with MacKenzie Ryan and Kiyara Letlow from CBU. Saint Mary’s Huskies guard Clara Gascoigne (Dartmouth, N.S.) was also named to the all-star team.

The Axewomen will head to the 2022 U SPORTS women's basketball championships, hosted by Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, from March 31-April 3. 

-Recap by Jonathan Briggins


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