The Brandon University Bobcats looked like a brand new team in the first half of Friday’s Canada West conference game against the No.1-ranked Regina Cougars.
The BU women’s basketball team moved the ball well, wasn’t afraid to shoot, limited its turnovers and competed hard for rebounds while down 43-26 to the country’s best team at the break. However, things fell apart in the second half of the Bobcats’ 96-38 loss at the BU Gymnasium.
“You can see the confidence is coming from the stuff we’re doing in practice fundamentally,” Bobcats head coach Ritchie Jacobson said. “We’re moving the ball from one side to the other, we’re thinking about shooting and getting our feet set, little things like that, but the physicality always gives us problems.”
The Cougars, who didn’t play all five regular starters at one time but never had fewer than two on the floor, came out with more fire in the second half and started to push the Bobcats around. Brandon kept up with the Cougars for the first three minutes of the second half, but lost their legs after that.
Brandon was unable to score from the field for a 16:12 stretch and were outrebounded 37-14 in the second half.
Aimee Johnston, who led the Bobcats with 22 points and eight rebounds, was happy with their first-half performance, but knows they have to find a way to play at a high level in the final 20 minutes.
“We have to keep our energy up and keep playing and it will come with time,” Johnston said. “A lot of it is working hard past the first couple minutes and possessions. A lot of it is playing longer than just the first minutes of a half. You have to see the half of a whole.”
Danielle Schmidt and Lindsay Ledingham both scored 14 points for the Cougars. Ledingham finished with 12 rebounds.
The Bobcats (0-9) don’t feel any pressure is on them for their rematch tonight at 6 o’clock against the Cougars
(8-0). Brandon knows it will have its hands full again, but Jacobson and his players feel they can make it a closer game if they continue to shut down the Cougars under the basket and are more competitive going for rebounds.
“The girls quickly acknowledged (after the game) that it is realistic to compete more on the glass,” Jacobson said.
“If we’re stationary and they’re stationary, we can compete. If (Michelle) Clark’s moving at a break-neck speed, I can’t realistically ask my kids to stop her, but you can damn well push back and I think that’s fair for (tonight).”
CAT SCRAPS: Fifth-year guard/forward Jayla Bousquet dressed but did not play on Friday …Usual starting guard/ forward Raisa Rybinski was taken out of the starting lineup and was cut back to 16 minutes of play for medical reasons.