The beginning of Jaynell Gillett’s career with the Brandon University Bobcats may not have gone the way she would have liked, but she’s happy the way it’s ending.
Gillett endured 72 of the 73 straight Canada West losses the Bobcats suffered during her first three-plus seasons after transfering from Calgary to play basketball instead of competing in track and field.
However, she has helped the Bobcats rebound from that by posting their highest win total in 30 years. On Saturday, she played her final game in front of the Wheat City faithful at the Healthy Living Centre and helped the Bobcats (6-14) beat the Lethbridge Pronghorns 70-59.
Gillett, who’s in her fifth and final year of CIS eligibility, saved one of her best performances for last as she finished the game with seven points and nine rebounds.
"It feels good. It’s a really big deal for me to win this home game here," said the 6-foot-2 forward, who was honoured after the game. "… At the beginning of the year, (BU sports information officer) Matt Packwood asked me what my favourite memory of playing basketball here was, and I said I think it’s still to come — and it definitely has this year."
The Bobcats played very well against the Pronghorns (6-14), putting a lot of pressure on Lethbridge, capitalizing on turnovers and working their way to the free-throw line to build a four-point lead at the half.
The Pronghorns kept the game close until Kaela Cranston went off for a pair of three-pointers late in the fourth quarter to build the lead up to nine and put the game out of reach.
It was an effort that Brandon head coach Novell Thomas liked.
"I think collectively we did all right," he said.
"We didn’t shoot the ball from three as well as we can, but we made some clutch shots down the stretch against their zone. When you’re able to do that, it really sticks in the dagger."
Cassie Cooke led Brandon with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Cranston added 15 points.
Kim Veldman paced the Pronghorns with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Mariah Miller added 10 points and 11 boards.
The Bobcats close out their season on Friday and Saturday in Regina when they take on the host Cougars (18-2), who are ranked fourth in the country. Gillett knows her team will need another solid effort to end her career on a winning note.
"That would be really nice and I think it’s really possible too," she said. "We just need to play as a team and keep them under control."
CAT SCRAPS: Boissevain’s Kinsley Ransom made 22 free throws in one minute during halftime of the men’s game to raise money for breast cancer research as part of Shoot for the Cure. It’s the most shots made by a BU player in the three years the Bobcats have put on the event … BU education student Thomas Harper made a half-court shot for a year’s tuition during halftime of the men’s game.