(HALIFAX, N.S.) The Cape Breton Capers (4th seed) are headed back to the AUS final for the first time since winning the title in 2017 after an upset win over the defending champions.
A 74-54 win by CBU against the UPEI Panthers (1st seed), means the Capers will play for the 2022 Subway AUS Women’s Basketball Championship banner on Sunday.
The Capers took control early with a nine-point run including a pair of layups from AUS rookie of the year and first team all-star Kiyara Letlow (Toronto, Ont.), part of an eight-rebound, 10-point first quarter.
The Subway player of the game, Kiyara Letlow continued a stellar AUS championship with 22 rebounds and 21 points in the game. In the quarter-final on Thursday, the forward posted similar numbers with 13 rebounds and 22 points.
After 10 minutes, CBU held a 19-14 lead.
UPEI’s Lauren Rainford (Toronto, Ont.) kept the score close throughout the first half, with timely baskets for 10 points along with a pair of steals and rebounds. The first team all-star finished the game with 19 points and three rebounds and was named player of the game for the Panthers.
Cape Breton entered the dressing at halftime up 36-28, with 16 points from Letlow. Hannah Smith (Bedford, N.S.) found success from beyond the arc, going two-for-three in front of family and friends at the Scotiabank Centre.
The Panthers were able to make the most of taking the ball away early on, with eight points in the first half coming off turnovers. UPEI finished the game with six steals and 10 points off turnovers.
A three-pointer from MacKenzee Ryan (Glace Bay, N.S.) got a loud reaction from the bright orange clad fans in the CBU end. It was part of a nine-point run to start the half. The second team all-star controlled play in the third quarter with nine points.
The Panthers fans behind the basket had their own chance to cheer, waving green foam fingers in the air after all-rookie team member Alicia Bowering (Orangeville, Ont.) made a three-point jump shot.
Once again, the Capers opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with two baskets from Hailey MacLeod (Marion Bridge, N.S.) and a jump shot from Ryan.
Rookie Grace Lancaster (Fall River, N.S.) got the Panthers on the board in the fourth after coming off the bench. She then made a defensive rebound and the Panthers put up points shortly after.
CBU are off to the final on Sunday, March 20 at 1 p.m and will play the winner of the semifinal between Acadia (2nd) and Saint Mary’s (3rd).
Watch every game of the 2022 Subway AUS Basketball Championships on AUStv.ca.
Recap by Jonathan Briggins