(HALIFAX, N.S.) -The third-seeded UPEI Panthers defeated the No. 6-seed UNB Varsity Reds by a score of 65-45 in the second quarter-final matchup of the Subway AUS Women's Basketball Championship.
UPEI opened the scoring seconds in the first quarter with a three-point shot by Amy Gough (St. John's, N.L.).
Laura Kaye (Fredericton, N.B.) of UNB countered back with two two-pointers within the next four minutes. The score remained close, but UPEI maintained the lead after Anne Kiberd (Halifax, N.S.) sunk two, and Jane Baird (St. John's, N.L.) made both her free throws after being fouled by UNB's Kiley Delong (St. John's, N.L.).
The Panthers continued to do a good job of defending their net and forcing UNB to run the shot clock, allowing Darcy Zinck (Halifax, N.S.) to a three-point shot.
For the remainder of the first quarter UPEI dominated the court with continued solid defending in their zone and patient offending, giving them an 11-point lead, 20-9 at the end of the first frame.
In the second quarter, both teams scored a quick two points before UPEI's Kiberd sunk a three, bringing the game to 25-11.
Danielle MacDonald (Sydney Mines, N.S.) of UPEI then earned one basket plus the foul at 7:30.
With three minutes remaining, Kiera Rigby (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) was injured and the team took a time out after she was assisted off the court.
UNB's Hannah Currie (Collingwood, Ont.) sunk a quick two points after the time out to bring the score to 30-13.
By halftime, the Panthers held a 37-15 lead over the V-Reds. UPEI's Gough led the scoring in the first half with 10 points.
UPEI's Katelynn Donahoe (Riverview, N.B.) opened the scoring two minutes into the third quarter. Minutes later, she sunk another to extend the Panthers' lead to 41-15.
Gough continued the Panthers' offensive streak at 6:25, sinking another three-pointer.
Rachel Cleary (Brantford, Ont.) of UNB was fouled with 3:30 remaining and sunk one of two shots.
UPEI's Julie Hatcher (Riverview, N.B.) brought the final score of the third quarter to 54-28 after sinking a three-point shot at the buzzer.
The Panthers' Candace Smith opened the final quarter at the free throw line and sunk one of two shots.
UNB's Kaye then made both of her foul shots at 9:29. Teammate Delong earned an and-one at 6:48 and made the shot.
With five minutes left in the game, UPEI led 63-37.
Cleary and Wade earned the V-Reds another six points in the next minute bringing UNB to 43 points and close the cap slightly on the Panthers, but it would not be enough to rouse a comeback.
The Panthers would take the game by a final score of 65-45.
Amy Gough was named Subway player of the game for the Panthers. She finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and a steal.
Laura Kaye earned Subway player of the game nods for UNB, posting 13 points, a rebound and an assist.
Wilsons Security defensive player of the game honours for UPEI went to Terrilyn Herrick (Kinburn, Ont.) who posted two defensive rebounds and two blocks in the win.
Kiley Delong was named Wilsons Security defensive player of the game for UNB, contributing five defensive rebounds and 11 total rebounds.
UNB head coach Jeff Speedy said he was pleased to see Delong come back from having a tough first half.
"I thought her second half performance was fantastic," Speedy said. "She had to sit out last year because of transferring and I thought she really hit her stride in February, so hopefully there will be a whole six months next year of what we saw in February."
With this loss, the Varsity Reds are done for the year. It was definitely a tough one and one that saw the V-Reds plagued by injury.
"I'm pleased for the most part with how we handled adversity," Speedy added. "I think the program took some steps forward this year and it could have been a little bit better, but we can't blame everything on the injuries. We gotta play a little bit better as well."
The UPEI Panthers will now advance to the Subway AUS Women's Basketball semifinals. They will face the second-seeded Dalhousie Tigers at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at the Scotiabank Centre.
With files from Atlantic University Sport.
Photo by Nick Pearce.