The Thunderbirds continued an impressive weekend with a decisive 87-46 victory over the Brandon University Bobcats Saturday night. With a mix of finesse and physicality the Thunderbirds dominated the Cats for the second night in a row, never giving up their lead in the showdown.The atmosphere may have been quieter than Friday’s Winter Classic[link], but the women brought an intensity the hockey team was lacking.
UBC drew first blood when Cassandra Knievel scored an early three-pointer. Within minutes the Cats had called a timeout to settle things down when they found themselves trailing 11-4. The Thunderbirds gave up several points off of fouls but it paid off. The Cats’ clumsy offence could find no holes in the ‘Bird defence, almost exclusively scoring on free throws. Several steals and quick counterattacks put UBC way up and a last second Stephanie Bell shot had UBC up at the end of the quarter 16-7.
The Thunderbirds continued their physical defence and quick passing offence in the second quarter. Kris Young scored first, sinking a jump shot after a hard drive. The Cats were quick to retaliate and the play was back and forth, but inaccurate Brandon shooting put the ‘Birds up 20-9 after another Young point. UBC’s rough defence cost them point after point, though the score didn’t reflect it, as the Thunderbirds rarely had less than double the Cats’ score. Young scored a free throw off of the Cats’ first foul of the quarter and then handed the spotlight off to Harleen Sidhu who had several steals, and with some smart passing from teammates, put the ‘Birds 15 points ahead at the half.
Brandon’s lack of teamwork hurt them, along with Sidhu’s 15 points and Young’s seven. The players filed off for halftime and the Richmond Youth Basketball’s Hurricanes and Cyclones took the court in an exciting and closely matched exhibition contest.
Knievel started the second half identically to the first, sinking a three-pointer in seconds. The Cats, in somewhat desperate fashion, were quick to foul, allowing Adrienne Parkin to hit nothing but net on two free throws, boosting the ‘Birds to a 20 point lead. Strong defence shut down Brandon’s offence time and time again, then Young beat the whole team to lay up another, rounding out a 10 point scoring streak to start the half. The Cats finally fought back with several free throws of their own before Knievel made a three point play after sinking a free throw. Cherub Lum followed suit, drawing a foul on a breakaway, making it 52-24.
After two and a half quarters of total domination, the ‘Birds eased up and the Bobcats pounced on their opportunity, scoring several quick layups. Several more fouls against Brandon allowed them to lessen the gap, but strong UBC rebounding allowed them to finished the quarter up 60-33.
In a desperate last attempt to claw themselves back in the game, the Cats started the final quarter with a layup but were quickly reminded of the ‘Bird’s dominance at War Memorial Gym when Young came up with a huge block, which Sidhu took advantage of, to score again. Some fancy dribbling from the Cats’ lead scorer Alyssa Montgomery (13 points) was the last life for the visitors as Sidhu handed centre stage to Young (17 points), Knievel (12 points) and Lee (eight points) with significant contributions from Parkin (12 points). Lee sank jump shot after jump shot, regardless of the pressure while Young and Knievel took turns stealing, breaking away and scoring. Kamila Wojciechowski came off the bench and scored four to finish off the Cats, ending the game 87-46.
The T-Birds' 17 fouls, unbreakable defence, fast-paced and teamwork-oriented offence and strong individual performances from Sidhu, Young, Knievel and Parkin never gave Brandon a chance.