May 30th, 2024

Kodiaks can’t score the sweep

By Dale Woodard on November 16, 2021.

No matter who the opponent, a sweep in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference does not come easy.

The young Lethbridge College Kodiaks women’s basketball team found that out.

Hosting their ACAC home opener Sunday night at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium, the Kodiaks came up short in a 75-68 loss to the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens.

The loss gives the Kodiaks a 1-1 start to the regular season following a 74-66 win over the Queens Friday night in Red Deer.

But on Sunday, a sweep wasn’t in the cards as the Kodiaks clawed back in the fourth quarter to pull within one of the Queens, but a pair of nicely-timed three pointers from Red Deer allowed the visitors to pad their lead and secure the win.

“With a young team we have to learn how to be better the second night,” said Kodiak head coach Ken McMurray. “It’s tough to sweep teams in this league and we have seven kids straight out of high school, so learning how to win at this level is going to be a challenge for us.”

Courtney Deemter paced the Kodiaks with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Matlin Jacobs and Montana Berezay each added 13. Jacobs also had six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Kirsten Barwegen also hit double digits with 11 points and nine rebounds. Annah Westrop also hauled in nine rebounds.

“It’s hard to sweep a team,” said Jacobs. “You come back and you play them again and they know how you play and you know how they play. When you beat them, they kind of have nothing to lose and you have that pressure on you to win again.

“I think what it came down to was our defence in the end. They hit some clutch threes and our rebounding wasn’t really there. But I think it’s a learning experience for us to really push in the end and win.”

The Kodiaks trailed the Queens 44-36 at the half.

Red Deer held a 58-48 after the third quarter before the Kodiaks won the fourth set 20-17.

But some late clutch shots allowed the Queens the hit the road with the win.

“I thought defensively in the first half we were a few steps slow,” said McMurray. “In the second half we made a really nice push and I was really proud of the girls for not giving up. They were down 10 or 12 and we had a great run. We were within one possession and they got a couple of threes off on us. But even that point we still made a push and still came within four. I’m proud of the girls for that, but lots to learn from a loss. It’s not fun. It’ stings, but lots to learn.”

A first-year player, Deemter led Lethbridge on the scoresheet Sunday night.

Jacobs gave the first-year players a passing grade.

“I’m really surprised with them, especially with COVID because most of them got their Grades 11 and 12 years taken away from them,” she said. “So to come and play at this level and play as good as they do is actually is surprising and I think they’ve done really well.”

The Kodiaks shot 34.7 per cent from the field, 30 per cent from three-point range and 58.8 on free throws.

The team now gets ready for the Medicine Hat Rattlers Friday night in Medicine Hat before the rematch comes back to the Val Matteotti Gymnasium Saturday with the men’s game at 6 p.m. and the women to follow at 8 p.m.

This weekend will be the Rattlers’ season openers.

“I think it’s consistency and I think that just comes with the territory of a young team,” said McMurray. “Everybody has to come ready to defend every night. We gave up 44 points in the first half. You’re not going to win too many games if you give up that many points in a half.

But in the second half our defence was sound and that’s what gave us the run. Lots of positive things to look at and we’ll go from there.”

“It’s just turning around and playing hard again,” said Jacobs. “We play Medicine at and team always plays 10 points better in their own gym. So we’re going to have to go play hard in the their gym and hopefully we can play better in ours.”

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