SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan Huskies earned their second straight trip to the Canada West Final with a 78-68 win over the University of Alberta Pandas Saturday night at the PAC.
The top seeded Huskies will meet the Regina Cougars in an all-Saskatchewan conference final at 7 p.m. on Saturday night after Regina beat MacEwan in the Friday's first semifinal.
Huskie guard Sabine Dukate was outstanding in the semifinal with 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting. The first-year Huskie connected on five-of-seven shots from three-point range and was perfect on her six free throw attempts.
"It is a relief. We really wanted this one; we want to be playing for a banner tomorrow," said Huskie head coach Lisa Thomaidis. "To know we're going to nationals tonight is a great accomplishment."
After outscoring the Pandas 22-11 in the second frame, the Huskies took a 40-33 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the third Saskatchewan fed off the energy of a nearly full house at the PAC to build the lead up to 15 just past the midpoint of the quarter. Alberta would close the gap to 10 heading to the fourth and cut the Huskie lead to just six early in the fourth. Saskatchewan wouldn't let the Pandas get any closer than that, putting the game away with a Laura Dally three-pointer with 2:18 left in the fourth quarter to go up 73-62.
Saskatchewan and Regina will face each other in the Canada West Final at the PAC just like they did in 2011. The Huskies won the 2011 title with a 77-74 result.
"These girls have talked all season long; this is what they want. They're going for two banners. Tomorrow's one of the goals we've set, and there'll be no problem in terms of getting up for that game."
Jessilyn Fairbanks poured in a team-high 27 points for the Pandas. Fairbanks recorded a game-high three steals to go along with her four rebounds. Megan Wickstrom added 12 points for Alberta. Wickstrom was a perfect two-for-two from beyond the arc in the first half.
Saskatchewan's Kelsey Trulsrud added 16 points for the Huskies and grabbed seven boards in the win. Laura Dally added another 14 points, while Dalyce Emmerson grabbed 10 points in addition to her nine points.
Prior to Saturday's Final the Pandas and MacEwan Griffins will battle for Canada West bronze at 5.p.m.