Zachary Worden, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY – The second game of a weekend series between the Mount Royal University Cougars and MacEwan Griffins was played Saturday afternoon at Kenyon Court. In the first game on Friday night, the Griffins won 73-66 in a tight affair that came down to the final minutes.
MacEwan followed up their win, with a 69-54 victory on Saturday, securing a series sweep and improving to 4-6 for the season. Mackenzie Farmer led the team in scoring. She put in 14 points, six of which came from the free throw line. She also made an impact on the glass by grabbing six rebounds. After a 21-point, 19 rebound double-double in the first game, Kayla Ivicak followed that up with another double-double. She scored 13 points and came down with 14 rebounds.
The Cougars got contributions from all over their roster. Charity Marlatt was the team's leading scorer with 10 points while adding six rebounds. Marnie Garner was a huge part of the MRU game plan. She was guarded Ivicak all game long, keeping from exploding like she did on Friday. Garner also scored seven points, as she finished some tough layups in traffic.
Both teams put on a defensive clinic in the first quarter. After her performance on Friday, the Cougars focused their defensive efforts on keeping the ball out of Ivicak's hands. On the other end, the Griffins forced MRU into tough looks that the home team couldn't convert.
MacEwan started to heat up in final two minutes of the first and built a nine-point lead heading to the second quarter.
The second quarter saw both teams' breakthrough on the offensive end. The Griffins found success early by getting the ball inside and getting to the free throw line. In the first half, they made 11 of their 14 shots from the line, helping them build a lead.
The Cougars also found success at the charity stripe. They converted all eight attempts from the line in the second quarter and all 10 in the first half. Despite the Griffins' early success, MRU kept coming at the visitors from Edmonton, finishing the half on a 7-2 run to cut their deficit to eight once the first half buzzer sounded.
Since the Cougars' defensively schemed to slow Ivicak down, the Griffins had to look elsewhere to get their offense in the first half. Farmer and Hannah Gibb stepped up combining for 15 of the team's 30 points through the first 20 minutes.
The Cougars first half scoring came from up and down their roster. Eight players scored, forcing the MacEwan defense to guard all five players on the floor at all times.
Maddison Hooper came out of the halftime break on a mission, she scored the Cougars first five points of the half and got a block on the defensive end.
The two teams started going up and down the floor in a fast-paced third quarter. The defensive pressure was increased on both ends, looking to force turnovers and get into the open floor and run.
The Cougars were able to use their energy to cut their deficit to three, but MacEwan responded with a made three, steal in the backcourt and the resulting layup to keep MRU from evening up the game.
The tight quarter didn't favour either side, as the eight-point lead the Griffins held at halftime carried over into the final 10 minutes.
The back and forth action continued into the fourth quarter, as MacEwan tried to hold off the Cougars' comeback attempt.
The Griffins eventually got their lead to double-digits in the final two minutes after a contested deep shot clock beating three-pointer from Kristen Monfort-Palo.
MacEwan was able to hold off the Cougars the rest of the way and secure their fourth win of the season.
Both teams will look to pick up wins on the road next weekend. The Cougars travel to Vancouver to face the UBC Thunderbirds, while the Griffins head to Regina for their games with the Cougars. All games can be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv.