The Brandon University Bobcats women’s basketball team was looking to start the second half of its Canada West season on a winning note, but wound up falling 62-59 to the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at BU’s Healthy Living Centre on Friday night.
The teams swapped leads late in the game before the WolfPack pulled ahead for good to improve its record to 7-5, good for fourth place in the Pacific Division.
"The last 45 seconds of the game was the most crucial point in the game," Bobcats head coach Novell Thomas said. "We didn’t believe for that little stretch and you know, I think that hurt. That hurt us."
The Bobcats, who were playing their first conference game after a lengthy Christmas break, dropped to 2-9. Thomas said despite the loss, the club is showing signs of coming together as a group.
"We’re getting there with the familiarity with each other and in terms of diagrammed plays at the end of quarters," he said. "It’s just not quite there yet, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse. We knew our jobs, we just had to do them."
Cassie Cooke, who entered the game leading the CIS in scoring at 28.2 points per game, finished with only seven points for the Bobcats. But the Westminster, Md., product did show her ability to find open teammates. Cooke had eight assists, including one on a nice feed to a wide-open Keegan Robinson for a bucket in the first half.
"Some nights (Cooke) scores a lot, some nights she doesn’t get as many, but overall, one turnover and eight assists is a fantastic assist-to-turnover ratio," Thomas said. "She had some hard breaks to the hoop, but just didn’t get the calls."
The WolfPack held a 12-8 lead after the first quarter as both clubs looked tentative in their decision-making and missed several shots. However, the second quarter was a different story for the Bobcats, who outscored the WolfPack 22-15 en route to a 30-27 lead at halftime.
Kinsley Ransom of Boissevain led the way offensively for the Bobcats in the first half with eight points.
"I thought we’d be a little bit rusty coming out of the break," Thomas said. "They played (Thursday night) against Regina, so they were kind of game-tested. We weren’t. So I’ll take that first quarter, just being down by four. It could’ve been a lot worse given that it was our first game back."
Kassie Colonna scored 17 points for Thompson Rivers, which outscored Brandon 35-29 in the second half.
"This was definitely a beatable team and we were hoping for a ‘W,’ but I guess tomorrow we’ll hope for better things," said Stephanie Haynes, who led the Bobcats with 14 points and added 12 rebounds. "It was the first game back for us. We’ve been away from it for a while. Both teams wanted it and we had a good chance of beating each other. It was a tough battle. I guess we’ll look at the positives coming out of this, because we did play hard the whole game."
The Bobcats will look to get back on the winning track tonight when they host UBC-Okanagan at BU at 5 p.m.
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