Blues pick up first win of Tourney 91-72 over Pronghorns

Blues pick up first win of Tourney 91-72 over Pronghorns

FREDERICTON, NB – The University of Toronto Varsity Blues women's basketball team snatched up their first win 91-72 against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, Sunday at the Accreon Helen Campbell basketball tournament.

It was Rahshida Atkinson in the spot light once again with a game high 22 points and 9 rebounds, on top of picking up tournament all star. Kendra Lee led the way for her Pronghorns with 20 points. 

"Rahshida hasn't even touched her potential yet—she's a third year player who's work hard over the summer, she's so athletic and now we're trying to get her to focus more on the game—but she can score when she feels like scoring," said University of Toronto head coach Michèle Bélanger.

University of Toronto took no time jumping to an early lead going on a 10-2 run and not looking back. Despite their foul trouble the Varsity Blues were able to hold the early lead through the first quarter.

Lethbridge would trail by as much as 20 in the second quarter, but a seven point run by the Pronghorns, brought them back within ten. A five per cent increase on their shooting percentage gave Lethbridge a fighting chance to get back in the game.

Toronto led after a half 52-37, shooting an even 50 percent and dominating in the paint with 19 rebounds. The Varsity Blues were also moving the ball well, racking up nine helpers in the half.
Lethbridge struggled with turnovers, thanks to a tough Toronto press that made it hard for the Pronghorns to get out of their own end. However they made the most of their chances at the charity stripe making 13 of 17 free throws.

In the third quarter, Toronto scored another 26 points but it was Lethbridge who made a splash scoring a game high 23 and improving their shooting percentage by 16 per cent. 

Once again Toronto played sound defense in the forth quarter and held Lethbridge to on 12 points. 

"We've been working really hard on it (defense) we just have to tweak a few things," said Bélanger in her 37th year coaching. "We had some good traps but we didn't rotate well enough coming out of the traps but it's early—but I'm really pleased with the athletic capabilities of the girls." 

Thanks to the large scoring gap in the first half, Toronto held the outright lead and were rewarded with their first win of the tournament 91-72. 

Toronto finished with stellar defensive numbers, 13 steals and 44 rebounds helped them keep the Pronghorns contained.

"Over all I think it was good for us to see three different styles of game—now we can go back and work on things we need to work on," said Bélanger.

Michael Bourgeois for UNB Communications