Riding the hot hands of a couple of veterans, the University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team is half way to accomplishing their goal of a two-game sweep over the Mount Royal Cougars in Calgary.
With senior forward Chelsea McMullen pouring in a game-high 21 points, and third-year forward Jessica Renfrew chipping in 16 — including four three-pointers — the Vikes cruised to a 79-50 win Friday night over the Cougars.
The victory moved the 14-5 Vikes to within one game of Pacific Division-leading Fraser Valley. The Cascades (15-4) were beaten 72-70 by Thompson Rivers (15-5) on Friday night, while the second-place UBC Thunderbirds edged UNBC 63-60 in Prince George on Friday to improve to 15-4.
The Vikes led from start to finish against the overmatched Cougars, who are finishing up their first season in Canadian Interuniversity Sport basketball. Despite not getting any points from leading scorer Debbie Yeboah in the first half, UVic went to the break up 40-26 and never looked back.
“It was just a strong game from start to finish by the girls and Chelsea really helped set the tone early with great work at both ends of the floor,” Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair said, as her team pushed its win streak to three games.
Veteran Vikes guard Cassandra Goodis also had a strong game guiding the fifth-ranked offence in Canada West. Goodis, in her third year out of Penticton Secondary, scored 10 points and added 10 assists. Yeboah picked it up in the second half and finished with eight points — nowhere near her 18.2 average.
“With Debbie struggling a bit in the first half we had other players like Jessica and Cass step up so that’s what you always want to see,” added Sinclair.
The Vikes also held Cougars leading scorer Hilary Annich in check all night. Annich had just two points, well below her 11.1 average.
“We always try to take away the other team’s best player and tonight we did that and that’s a big reason we had so much success,” Sinclair said.
In the men’s game, the Vikes saved their best for last, finishing the game on a 9-0 run to pull out a 74-69 victory over the Cougars.
The win keeps the Vikes solidly in second place with a 14-5 record.
UBC, which beat UNBC on Friday, leads the way at 17-2. Mount Royal drops to 3-16.
The Vikes didn’t get their first lead until the final three minutes and then a big three-pointer by Brandon Dunlop and key foul shooting by Brin Taylor in the dying seconds allowed the Vikes to extend their win streak to seven games.
Both Vikes teams will take on the Cougars again today. The women’s game tips off at 4 p.m., followed by the men at 6 p.m.
UVic returns home next weekend for a season-ending home-and-home series with UBC.
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