Stephanie Haynes of the Brandon University Bobcats works the ball from the outside during Saturday night’s game against the UBC Thunderbirds at the BU Healthy Living Centre. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
The Brandon University Bobcats women’s basketball team has served notice to the Canada West conference that teams can’t circle their games against Brandon and expect a win anymore.
The Bobcats played one of their best games in the past few years on Saturday night at the BU Healthy Living Centre. They trailed the visiting UBC Thunderbirds, ranked 11th in the country, by two points with 6:05 left in regulation time before UBC (1-1) went on a 10-0 run to earn a 73-64 victory.
Despite the loss, the Bobcats (0-2) believed they showed they can be a very competitive team and appreciated the loud crowd support that has been absent for a while.
"I haven’t (heard a home crowd like that) and it’s amazing that we have fans out now and that they’re supporting us," said forward Jaynell Gillett, who is in her fourth year of basketball at BU. "It’s great to hear that on the court. It’s a great motivator. It’s keeps me going. It keeps the adrenalin up."
For the second straight night, Cassie Cooke scored 34 points, a new team record for most points in a game since the Bobcats joined Canada West. Cooke’s performance drew a lot of attention from opposing players, which allowed her to distribute the ball around, especially early in the game. However, her teammates struggled shooting, making only 27 per cent of their shots from the floor and they missed some two-footers right under the basket that may have cost the Bobcats the game.
"We probably had at least four, which is eight points and then it’s a one-point game and everyone is nervous," said Bobcats head coach Novell Thomas. "You live and you learn. Overall, it’s good to go against two really good teams and it’s not going to stop because we go up against Saskatchewan next week. It good to experience these games and learn."
Stephanie Haynes added eight points while Kaela Cranston chipped in seven for Brandon. Kris Young led UBC with 28 points, while Harleen Sidhu had 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Although the Bobcats were proud to compete against a tough team in the conference, they know things will only get more difficult as they visit the fifth-ranked Saskatchewan Huskies (2-0) this weekend.
"I just hope we’re learning from what we’re experiencing," Thomas said. "That’s what student-athletes do, whether it’s on the court or in the classroom, you have to learn so you get to the point where you’re not second-guessing yourself.
"Just looking at the numbers, we had 11 turnovers, which is good. We had more shots than them, which is good. We got beat on the rebounds. We’re a little bit smaller in size, but we just got to overcome those with the speed which we played with."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 4, 2013