(Charlottetown, PE) UPEI's bench outscored UNB's by 16 propelling the Panthers to a 57-49 victory Saturday night at the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre in front of 200 fans.
Both UNB and UPEI struggled to score in the opening 10 minutes of Saturday night action with the Varsity Reds shooting 27% and the Panthers shooting a mere 18%.
The two teams headed into the second quarter tied at seven.
The rim still seemed to have a lid on it at both ends of the court in the second quarter. UPEI could not convert on any of their 12 attempts from long distance while turning the ball over 12 times in the first half. UNB had their own problems losing the ball 16 times but managed to take a slight lead into the midway point, 19-18.
Rachel Cleary (Brantford, ON) led the way for UNB with four points and eight rebounds while Tamara Tompkins (Centreville, NB) led UPEI with four points, three rebounds and two steals.
It was clear at this point that winning this game would come down to whichever squad out grinded the other. UPEI was able to find some success in the third quarter with the help of their bench who scored 11 of their 20 points in the frame. Tompkins led the bench attack as they outscored UNB's 21-6 through three quarters en route to a 38-34 lead.
The Panthers maintained their lead in the fourth quarter despite finishing the game shooting only 34% from the field and 15% from three-point territory, compared to UNB's 39% and 27%. They did so by getting to the line, hitting 12 of 14, and capitalizing on the Varsity Reds' miscues scoring 21 points off turnovers. UPEI finished off a six game home stand winning 57-49 and taking over second place in the AUS.
The top performers for the Varsity Reds were Rachel Cleary with 6 points and 12 rebounds and Grace Wade (Moncton, NB) and Nicole LaFleur (Fredericton, NB).
UPEI's Anne Kiberd (Halifax, NS) was the game's high scorer with 12 but it was Tamara Tompkins earning the AUS Subway Player of the Game thanks to her gritty play off the bench finishing with 10 points, five rebounds and four steals.
UPEI (8-5) travels to Cape Breton to take on the Cape Breton Capers (7-6) next Friday, January 30 at 6:00 pm.
UNB (6-7) heads to Wolfville to take on Acadia (1-11) January 30 at 6:00 pm.
Source: Jonathan Lane for UPEI Sports Information