PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - The Saskatchewan Huskies would bend, but not break, holding off the UNBC Timberwolves 72-65 Friday night in Prince George. Summer Masikewich led the Huskies with eighteen points and eight rebounds, while Vasiliki Louka led all scorers with 24 for the Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves fell behind early in the first, as Saskatchewan's Megan Ahlstrom scored six points early. But Vasiliki Louka asserted herself on the boards, and UNBC clawed their way to a 20-18 advantage after ten minutes. Louka had eight points and four rebounds in eight minutes.
Huskies coach Lisa Thomaidis said Louka's ability to get into the paint was a focus for Saskatchewan coming into the game.
"She is so solid inside. If she gets it inside, she pretty much scores every time. It was a key piece of defensive strategy."
The Huskies increased their defensive intensity in the second quarter, forcing the Timberwolves into some turnovers early in the stanza. A pair of Kylie Pozniak triples got the UNBC offense rolling, while Megan Ahlstrom led the way for the Huskies. She had 11 points at halftime, while the Timberwolves held a slight 35-31 advantage.
Saskatchewan opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run, taking a 39-35 lead, until Louka stopped the run with a lay-in three minutes into the half. Summer Masikewich had six points and four rebounds in the quarter and the Huskies led 52-46 heading into the fourth. The third quarter was the same stanza that gave the TWolves trouble last weekend against UBC.
UNBC guard Stacey Graham those third quarter woes are indicative of a lapse in intensity.
"We just stopped playing defense as hard as we were in the other quarters, and I don't know why," said Graham. "It's just in our heads and we need to get it out."
The Huskies held a six point lead at the midway mark of the final stanza, with both teams trading baskets. The advantage grew to ten with less than three minutes to play. Maria Mongomo hit a three-pointer, and a Louka free-throw cut the deficit to just six. But the Huskies would bend and refuse to break, holding off the TWolves with timely free-throws down the stretch.
"Full credit to UNBC. They played very hard, and gave us a lot of trouble, particularly in the first half," said Thomaidis postgame. "They took away our penetration, and we had a tough time adjusting to that."
With the victory, Saskatchewan improves to 14-5, while UNBC falls to 6-13. The final game of the regular season is set for Saturday night at 5 PT at the Northern Sport Centre.