January 17th, 2021

Every game big for Kodiaks women’s basketball team

By Woodard, Dale on January 20, 2020.

Dale Woodard

Lethbridge Herald


There are no more small games for the Lethbridge College Kodiaks women’s basketball team.

Bearing that in mind, they went out and grabbed four big points in a weekend home-and-home series.

The Kodiaks downed the Ambrose Lions 70-52 in Alberta Colleges Athletic Association play Saturday night at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium.

After a 66-41 win the weekend-opener Friday night in Calgary, the Kodiaks improve to 8-5 and into a tie for second place in the ACAC South Division with the St. Mary’s Lightning.

That also keeps the Kodiaks four points behind the South-leading Olds Broncos (10-1) as the battle for the top four post-season positions heats up.

That high-stakes-every-night atmosphere sits well with fourth-year guard Matlin McMurray who poured in a team-high 18 points in Saturday’s win to go along with three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

“I enjoy it,” said McMurray. “It gives us more motivation to go out there and win. The league is really competitive and everybody is really close. So we’re all competing for that playoff spot. It helps you before a game to know this game really matters and we have to go out and win it.”

After a slow start last week in Medicine Hat handed the Kodiaks a costly loss to start the second semester, keeping the pedal down for 40 minutes was the focus heading into the weekend as Lethbridge jumped out to a 25-3 lead after the first quarter.

The Lions closed the gap a bit in the third quarter, outscoring the Kodiaks 23-18, but the hosts returned to from in the fourth quarter to close out the win and the 2-0 weekend.

“Aside from the start of the third quarter, we really came out playing hard,” said Kodiaks head coach Deanna Simpson. “We talked about last week in Medicine Hat (how) we really didn’t start playing until the second half and we struggled to get back into it, a two-point game and that kind of stuff. This week we focused on playing every single minute of every game because it just makes it harder to guard.”

It also paid off Friday night in Calgary.

“Friday we were kind of off to slower start,” said McMurray. “We mentioned getting three stops in a row every game when we first go out. So that really helps us lock down on defence.”

After leading the Kodiaks in Friday’s win, Kirsten Barwegen put up another 12 points Saturday.

Natalie Hoyt and Dezarae Jensen came off the bench and added 10 points each.

Barwegen and Jensen each grabbed six rebounds. Barwegen also had four assists and three steals. Skyler Riggin also had three steals.

The Kodiaks return to action with a pair of home games Friday and Saturday when the Red Deer Kings and Queens come to town.

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