By Woodard, Dale on January 13, 2020.
The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s basketball team were poised to hand the Calgary Dinos their first loss of the season.
But in the span of four minutes it all went off the rails as the Pronghorns were defeated 73-67 by the Dinos in Canada West play Saturday night at the 1st Choice Savings Centre.
The Horns opened up a solid 34-23 lead at halftime – shooting 52 per cent from the field – and held a 54-37 lead after three quarters.
But an 18-0 Dinos run put the visitors ahead for good and though the Pronghorns managed to stop the charge and go on an 11-5 run of their own to trim Calgary’s lead to 70-65 with two minutes to play, it wasn’t quite enough to grab the lead back as the Pronghorns fall to 6-8 on the season and into 11th in the Canada West.
The Dinos record remains unblemished at 12-0 to remain tied for first with the Saskatchewan Huskies, also 12-0.
“It was a four-minute run,” said Pronghorns head coach Dave Waknuk. “They went on a 16-0 run in the fourth and it just seems like everything unraveled. Calgary plays with so much pressure and they play so tough that they push and push until you break. It was just us breaking at the wrong time. It just seems like every missed layup felt 10 times worse and every mistake felt 10 times worse because of the pressure they were playing with. We just couldn’t stop the moving train and they just started to run away with it.”
But it wasn’t without a push back from the hosts.
In the dying minutes, third-year forward Amy Mazutinec lunged to keep a ball in play, her momentum sending her into the bleachers.
She got back on the court just in time to take a pass from Savannah McKee and drain a three-pointer that had the 1st Choice Savings Centre crowd buzzing.
The loss comes after another close one in the home-and-home opener Thursday night in Calgary when the Dinos earned a 74-66 win.
“It’s tough because on Thursday we were right there with 12 minutes ago and tonight we were up a bit and we had a chance to put it away, we just can’t close it,” said Waknuk. “They’re number two in Canada and undefeated and you’re right there, but you still have a ways to go and I think our direction is we have to fill that gap. We have six games left and we want to make a push into the postseason and we’ve got to close that gap. All I said to the team is that this is a learning experience for us to find a chance to say “OK, what happened in those moments and what do we need the next time it happens and how can we get through that as a team the next time that it happens? “It’s disappointing and it hurts, for sure, to play that tough. The crowd was great tonight and it was fun to play in that environment. But to have that run, you wish you had those four minutes back because things just went south after that.”
Fifth-year Pronghorn Kacie Bosch had the double-double Saturday with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while teammates Asnate Fomina and Katie Keith also scored double digits with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Fomina also had six assists.
Lethbridge shot 36.4 per cent from the field and were 4-for-19 (21.1 per cent) from beyond the arc. They hit 73.7 per cent of their free throws.
“Sunday or Monday when you ask me I think I’ll reflect that we played against them in portions where we had leads and we had control of the game and that’s one of the very best and they are going to be a team that’s going to be in there fighting for a national medal in a few months,” said Waknuk. “We know that and hopefully we’ll see them again in a game that matters for something and I think we have to take the confidence out of that, too. We were right there, but we had that gap. But we have time and we have the opportunity to fill that gap and I think that is where our focus had to be going forward. What can we do to close that gap as quickly as possible?”
In the mens’ game, the Pronghorns were defeated 86-74 and are 4-10 on the season and holding onto the 12th-and-final playoff spot.
With the Pronghorns down 75-66, Lethbridge’s Colton Gibb hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to 75-72, but the Dinos scored on their next three possessions to pull away and remain perfect at 12-0 atop the Canada West standings.
Kyle Peterson paced the Pronghorns with 16 points. Gibb and Jeff Rodehutskors each had 13 and Scott Mazutinec added 12.
Rodehutskors also grabbed 10 rebounds as the Horns shot 39.1 per cent from the field, 36.4 from the three-point line and 75 per cent on free throws.
The Pronghorns continue their playoff push this weekend with another home-and-home series with another Calgary opponent, this one the Mount Royal University Cougars.
The first game is Thursday in Calgary – 6 p.m. for the women and 8 p.m. for the men – before the series comes back to the 1st Choice Savings Centre Saturday. The women’s game starts the evening at 5 a.m. with the men to follow at 7 p.m.
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