By Woodard, Dale on January 10, 2020.
Medicine Hat News
The Medicine Hat Rattlers women’s basketball team shook off a late scare and rebounded to secure a 53-51 victory over the Lethbridge Kodiaks on Thursday evening at the Snake Pit.
Returning to the hardwood after a six-week holiday hiatus, the Rattlers came out blazing only to watch a 12-point lead vanish in the fourth.
But Medicine Hat escaped with two points thanks to a few clutch buckets and key rebounds from Katelyn Rozdeba and Morgan Muir.
“I think this team is really gutsy,” said Rattlers head coach Clayton. “They don’t want to lose, and if they’re close they’ll find a way to get ahead.”
Medicine Hat seized control right off the hop, stifling Lethbridge’s offence while staking a 27-15 lead at the half.
Lethbridge managed to close that gap to six points near the end of the third before Rattlers forward Katelyn Rozdeba responded with a buzzer-beater to close out the quarter with an eight-point lead – but the Kodiaks kept coming in the fourth.
“They just kept chipping away, but that’s Lethbridge,” said Nielsen.
“They keep the same pace the whole game and if you drop below that pace, they catch up. As long as you stay above it you’re OK, and we dropped below it for too long a period of time. We allowed too many points – we allowed 36 points in the second half, that’s way too many against them. It’s just little lapses.”
After whittling down the Rattler lead, Lethbridge’s Natalie Hoyt drove to the basket and sunk a layup to push the Kodiaks out in front with five minutes left on the clock.
But Medicine Hat refused to go quietly and Muir put her Rattlers back in the driver’s seat with a clutch layup entering the final minute.
“We came out scared in the first half,” said Kodiaks head coach Deanna Simpson.
“I told them that if they wanted to continue to play scared we were going to get beat by a lot more than 12, and we just decided to finally come out and play – but too little, too late.”
After hitting a pair of free throws and forcing a turnover, Rozdeba stretched the gap into two-possession territory with a second-chance rebound and the Kodiaks were unable to recover.
“It was pretty intense. We knew this game was important because it was the tiebreaker between them,” said Paige Cooper, who had 10 points in the win. “It’s really nice to know that you have a team that you can lean on. Everyone works really hard together and you can rely on everyone to bring the game back.”
Rozdeba finished with a game-high 15 points and 14 rebounds, while Muir followed up with 14 points, four steals and four assists.
Matlin McMurray led Lethbridge with 13 points and three steals in the loss, while Brook Baker added nine rebounds.
“There was definitely improvement in the second half, but there’s still a long way to go,” said Simpson. “We made some mistakes down the stretch because we weren’t in it the whole time.”
Medicine Hat now sits 5-5 on the ACAC season, while the Kodiaks slipped to 6-5.
Thursday’s nightcap at the Snake Pit featured the Lethbridge Kodiaks picking up where they left off last semester.
After closing out 2019 with a 10-0 record, the Kodiaks extended their perfect season with an 86-61 victory over Medicine Hat.
Orin Porter and Steele Stef led Lethbridge to the victory with 16 points apiece, while Chase Bohne posted 14 points with 11 assists and Chris Thomson added nine points with 16 rebounds.
Kieron Burgess powered Medicine Hat’s offence with a game-high 22 points, adding 10 rebounds for the double-double, while Josh Magpantay followed up with 15 points and five steals.
Medicine Hat slipped to 2-8 with the loss.
The Rattlers return to the Snake Pit next Friday to host the Briercrest Clippers (4-5), while the Kodiaks will be on the road in Ambrose to face the Lions (5-4).