By Woodard, Dale on February 10, 2020.
All season long University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s basketball head coach Dave Waknuk has preached ending the regular season playing their best basketball heading into the playoffs.
On Saturday night at the 1st Choice Savings Centre, his team took that quite literally.
The Horns downed the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack 69-52 to wrap up the Canada West regular season at 11-9.
And in the spirit of saving the best for last, the Pronghorns did exactly that and earned themselves a home playoff play-in date as well with a stellar fourth quarter after trailing 38-26 at the half.
“This was the fourth quarter come back for the second straight night,” said Waknuk.
“We came in with some full-court pressure that really opened the game and changed it completely. I give a lot of credit to Isabel Rattai and Jessica Haenni, who found a role in the pressure. We won the quarter 26-5. I would definitely say that was our best quarter of the year and just to be able to control like that for defence I think is what we said from day one when we got together.”
It was indeed nice timing.
“We wanted to play our best basketball at the end. It was kind of fitting that our last regular season quarter was definitely the best quarter of the year,” said Waknuk. “I’d like to say I planned it that way, but I can’t say that. I think that’s something we can hang our hat on. I’ve talked about it every week about our defence, but for that to be so shining through in the last 10 minutes of the game, it was a tight game and we didn’t really step into it until the mid-fourth quarter then we had a great finish.”
In addition to their fourth-quarter shut down, the Horns also held the WolfPack to eight points in the third quarter.
Now, they will play their second Canada West playoff home play-in date when the Pronghorns host the UNBC Timberwolves Friday at 6 p.m. at the 1st Choice Savings Centre.
Last year it started at home for the Horns, who then advanced to the final-four.
“I think our memory from our playoff run last year was our home game and just the energy of the crowd and everything that was with it, said Waknuk. “We just came off a great weekend. It was a great crowd for Senior Night and great support from everybody here. For us, any chance to play at home is always an advantage. Even any chance to just practice a regular week with school in a regular schedule is a big part of it. We’re not jumping on a bus early or taking off and breaking our schedule. So I think that routine is nice at this time of year.”
On Saturday, Kacie Bosch paced the Pronghorns with 23 points, eight assists and five steals and Haenni added 14 points.
Rattai finished with nine points and Katie Keith had nine rebounds.
The Horns shot 50 per cent from the field, 23.1 per cent from the three-point line and 83.3 per cent on free throws.
Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter