Zachary Worden, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY – The Mount Royal University Cougars welcomed the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns to Kenyon Court on Thursday night to tip-off a two-game series. Both teams had tough matchups last weekend. The Cougars had a cross-town battle with the University of Calgary Dinos, while the pronghorns were in Saskatoon to face the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
The Pronghorns took the first game of the series by a score of 83-59. UofL had a big game on the glass grabbing 64 rebounds helping them control the pace of the game and finish their defensive possessions. The game saw both teams start slow on the offensive end, but as the game progressed the offenses started to find their groove.
The Lethbridge attack was led by Kacie Bosch and Logan Moncks. Bosch scored 25 points, came down with nine rebounds, dished out seven assists and had five steals, making her impact all over the floor. Moncks was just as big for her team. She finished the game with 21 points and seven rebounds.
On the other side, Maddison Hooper led the Cougars in scoring with 20 points. She exploded for 16 points in the second half, catching fire from outside. Jordan Blaskin also made her impact felt throughout the game with 11 points, getting to the free-throw line for seven shots in the game.
The Pronghorns took the early lead and forced a Cougars' timeout, the home team responded by increasing their defensive pressure which helped generate some stops.
After trailing by nine early in the first they came back with a 9-3 run to end the quarter and build some momentum after going down early.
After a tough shooting start for both teams, the offense started flowing in the second quarter. The pace picked up in the quarter, as the teams started to trade baskets in a tightly contested 10 minutes.
Heading into the halftime break, UofL was able to gain some separation with a 10-0 run in the last four minutes of the quarter. The stretch helped them take a 36-21 lead at the end of the first half.
Bosch was the driving force for the Pronghorns through the first 20 minutes. She made four of her five shot attempts for 12 points while adding six rebounds and three steals to her stat line in the first half. Moncks also had a big first half with nine points and seven rebounds.
MRU's offense was spread throughout their team. Seven of the nine players who saw the court in the first half managed to score. Marnie Garner, Maria Blanco, and Blaskin combined for 12 points, leading the Cougars' offense by attacking the rim and being able to finish inside.
The offenses remained successful out of the break and into the third quarter. The two teams went back and forth in the quarter. Both teams had offensive explosions from some individual players. Moncks scored 10 points in the quarter, hitting all five of her field goal attempts. On the other side, Blaskin and Hooper scored seven apiece for the Cougars. Blaskin had her own 5-0 run that cut into some of the momentum that UofL was starting to build.
The fourth quarter saw Hooper build on her strong third quarter. She scored 11 points in the quarter, highlighted by a stretch where she scored eight points on three straight possessions for MRU. Her scoring gave her team a spark and helped the final push to end the game.
Once the final buzzer sounded the Pronghorns were able to hold off the Cougars strong offensive second half and come away with their sixth victory of the season.
The provincial rivals will be back in action on Saturday night, as the Cougars will travel to Lethbridge to complete the home and away series. The game tips-off at 5:00 p.m. MDT and can be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv.