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Cougars take bronze at USPORTS Championship

author: nathan mccarville | sports writer

Not the intended end, but it will do/Arthur Images

Cougars beat McGill to take 3rd place

The University of Regina hosted the U SPORTS women’s basketball championships= ran from March 8 to 11. The Cougars were able to come away from the national championship with a bronze medal on their home court.

The Cougars opened the weekend national championship with their game against the University of Laval Rouge et Or, the “Red and Gold” for our non-francophone readers. The Cougars came away from the game with a score of 76-56, knocking Laval out of the running in the quarterfinals.

The next game took place two days later, giving the Cougars some much needed rest from the court after giving an energetic show of their skill against Laval. The Cougars played the Huskies in the next game. The game was always close, neither team leading by more than 10 points at any point in the game. The Cougars and Huskies both gave each other a run for their chance at the U SPORTS national title. Unfortunately for the home team, the game ended with a result of 74-71 for the Huskies after they were able to shoot ahead of the cougars by 6 points near the end of the game.

Home to a silent departing crowd after the game, the Center for Kinesiology and Sport emptied until the next day where the Cougars would play their last game of the championship, the bronze medal game held that night between the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and the Carleton Ravens.

The game never ceased or declined in intensity for the entire hour duration that the clock allowed for the teams to face each other. After each team made their entrances, neither side seemed to relent for a single moment as they gave it their all. It really seemed like they would only tire themselves out if they kept that up, but the manoeuvres and endless sprints down the length of the court didn’t stop until the final buzzer signalled the end of the game.

The first quarter ended with the Huskies making a last second three that put them only one point behind the Cougars with a score of 24-23 for the home team. The second brought an increasing tension to the game as only a point separated the score for most of the quarter. Every rebound was a battle for possession and fouls were commonplace in the close quarters that the game seemed to gravitate toward.

The third quarter was a rough start for the Cougars, who were virtually unable to score for the first 7 minutes of the quarter, the Huskies able to break away and gain a 6-point advantage for most of the period. Though the Cougars were able to close the gap starting at the 3-minute mark when the Huskies found themselves in the same situation as the Cougars minutes before, unable to score.

As the cushion that the Huskies had began to deflate and the scores became closer, the Cougars took on a more defensive style of play, paying off as the period ended with a score of 55-55.

The fourth began with a blistering pace, though neither team could score for nearly two minutes. The Huskies were the team to break the stalemate. The period went back and forth as the tide of the game went constantly changed directions. The Cougars were able to get ahead at the 7-minute mark, but that only lasted 4 minutes as the Huskies came ahead by a point. The game was equalized moments later with a foul shot that put the teams at 66-66 at 3:46. Somehow at a 1:10 the Huskies came ahead by 6 points with two three point shots. Though no one saw the game as being close to over.

With 30 seconds left, Sara Hubenig shot for a hopeful three, draining it and restoring hope for the Cougars and the home team fans as the gym exploded with cheers. Hubenig had possession once again with 18 seconds to go, but a well-placed Husky got in her way, rendering the situation impossible for another miracle 3-point shot. During the game Cougar Kyanna Giles was able to shoot an astounding 26 points, her sister Kyia Giles at 14 points, Hubenig just behind at 13 points, and Charlotte Kot with 8 points.

The heartbreaking end to the season was short lived as the Cougars celebrated their victory over McGill on the court the next day. Playing against McGill the Cougars were able to come away with a bronze medal. Another hard fought game gave the Cougars a result of 66-63 against the University of McGill Martlets. Dave Taylor, the head coach of the team, was happy that the Cougars were able to end on a happier note with the win.

“We’re always competitors. We talked about wanting to finish the season on our home floor with a win, and I’m glad we did.”

The ending result of the championship saw the Cougars with the third-place position, the Huskies losing their final game against the Carleton Ravens, the University of Saskatchewan claiming second place, and the Carleton Ravens taking home the national title.

About Nathan McCarville