Pandas End Thunderbirds’ Season Early

Title: Pandas End Thunderbirds’ Season Early
Date: February 23, 2013
Original Source: UBC Thunderbirds
Synopsis: Post-game recap for Feb. 23 Women’s Basketball game between UBC and Alberta.

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds wouldn’t go quietly, but saw their season end on Saturday night, losing 67-64 in overtime to the Alberta Pandas.

BOX SCORE

Sensing their season on the line, UBC hung tough with the Pandas throughout the game. Down three points with just five seconds to play, Kris Young (North Vancouver, BC) foundZana Williams (Vancouver, BC) in the left corner for a game-tying three, sending the game into overtime.

In the extra frame, though, a few costly turnovers and an unfavorable possession arrow on the final jump-ball call kept the Thunderbirds from extending the series to a third game.

“I thought down the stretch we got outplayed,” said head coach Deb Huband, whose team had three turnovers and shot just 2-of-8 in the extra frame.

Alberta leveraged a 42-32 rebounding advantage, getting contributions on the glass from all five starters. Anneka Baker led the way with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Katie Arbuthnot added 16 and seven, respectively, though she shot just 7-of-19.

For UBC, third-year leader Young did a bit of everything to try and keep her team in the game, including carrying the scoring load. Young poured in 29 points on 24 field goal attempts, adding six rebounds, four assists, four steals and a pair of blocks. It was a fitting final performance for Young’s season, as she’s been the epitome of versatility all season for the Thunderbirds.

Fifth-year Leigh Stansfield (Victoria, BC) also played well in her final game as a Thunderbird, scoring 14 points with eight rebounds. Stansfield was muscled down low but fought through the tough Pandas frontline to shoot 6-of-10.

“She always did her best to be a leader on and off the floor,” Huband said of Stansfield’s career.

As a team, though, UBC struggled on offense. They shot 41% and hit just 2-of-13 from long range, eliminating an effective part of their game. Defensively, they held the Pandas to 42% shooting and kept them off the free throw line, but despite forcing 21 turnovers lost the ball control battle. UBC’s 23 turnovers were indicative more of the physical nature of the game than any particularly sloppy play on either side.

Both teams expected a tough game, and it was evident from the start when the game’s first possession ended in a jump ball. From there, the teams battled hard at both ends, with bodies hitting the floor for loose balls and girls crashing the glass hard. Both teams clearly sensed their seasons in the balance.

The 14-8 Pandas will now move on to the Canada West semi-finals. The Thunderbirds, who finished the regular season 17-5 and were hoping for at least a semi-final berth, are left looking ahead to next year.

The future is bright for Huband’s program, as she’ll lose just one player in Stansfield this year. Still, next year is a while away, and for now the Thunderbirds are left thinking about what could have been, having lost their two quarterfinal games by a combined margin of just seven points.

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