Acadia returns to fifth-straight AUS final with win over SMU

Eva Widmeyer was the Axewomen's Subway player of the game. Photo by Nick Pearce.
Eva Widmeyer was the Axewomen's Subway player of the game. Photo by Nick Pearce.

(HALIFAX, N.S.)  For the fifth consecutive tournament, the Acadia Axewomen are going to the AUS women’s basketball championship finals.

Acadia (2nd seed) defeated the Saint Mary’s Huskies (3rd seed) 86-82 in a matchup between two teams whose regular-season win percentage was only 0.023 apart.

What promised to be a close game didn’t disappoint with back-and-forth action from start to finish.

Subway player of the game Eva Widmeyer (Dartmouth, N.S.) led the Axewomen with 19 points, including making all four of her three-point attempts.

The Huskies made three successful three-point attempts in a row to open its scoring, a trend that continued throughout the first quarter with the team sinking five shots from beyond the arc. 

It was Acadia who held the narrow lead after a back-and-forth first quarter, up 27-26. 

Second team all-star Clara Gascoigne (Dartmouth, N.S.) kept the Huskies in the game in the second quarter with a layup and three successful free throws in a row. She finished the half three-for-three from the field, made her only three-point attempt, had four rebounds and 12 points. The Huskies player of the game finished with 21 points.

The Axewomen started the second quarter with seven unanswered points, including a trey from Widmeyer. The third-year winger had 11 points in the first half.

Acadia went to the dressing room at half with a 44-37 lead.  

Aki Kobayashi (Halifax, N.S.) made two jump shots in a row for SMU early in the second half as the Huskies pushed it to within a two-possession game.

Next, it was Sarah Delorey (Elmsdale, N.S.) who found a pair of layups for the Axewomen as both teams took turns with momentum.

Six unanswered points by the Huskies at the end of the third quarter made it a one-point game to end the third quarter. During the run, both Gascoigne and first-team all-star Alaina McMillan (Brantford, Ont.) completed free throws after being fouled while making baskets.

Five points from Acadia’s Sandy Saunders (Woodstock, N.B) and another three-pointer by Widmeyer helped restore a double-digit lead for the Axewomen.

SMU received timely baskets from Lucy Beaumont (Fredericton, N.B.), who had nine points in the 4th quarter. 

The two teams exchanged chances in the final moments of the game, with both benches and fans getting fired up with each point scored. A layup by AUS most valuable player Jayda Veinot (Port Williams, N.S) with 1:11 left was key in preserving the Acadia win.

The Axewomen play the Cape Breton Capers (4) in the final on Sunday, March 20 at 1 p.m. The Capers made the final after 74-54 upset against the UPEI Panthers (1st) on Saturday afternoon. The last time these two teams met in an AUS final was in 2017 with Cape Breton winning 79-61.

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 Recap by Jonathan Briggins

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