Brandon’s Cassie Cooke drives against Victoria’s Sarah Semeniuk in women’s basketball action Friday. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
The Brandon University Bobcats ended one streak in their Canada West women’s basketball season opener, but they couldn’t end the most important one.
For the first time in 57 conference games, the Bobcats reached the 60-point plateau in regulation time, but it wasn’t enough as they fell 83-65 to the Victoria Vikes at the Healthy Living Centre on Friday night. American import Cassie Cooke scored 34 of those points for Brandon, with 21 coming in the second half, but she knows the Bobcats need a more balanced offensive performance to end their 68-game losing streak.
"It’s not going to win us games," she said. "It doesn’t matter how many I score, it’s not going to win us games. We all need to contribute so that 60-point mark can be an 80-point mark or 90-point mark just like the other team put up on us."
The Bobcats came out as a nervous group Friday and had problems containing the likes of Sarah Semeniuk, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Jenny Lewis, who led Victoria with 18 points.
Brandon, however, came out of the halftime break with a lot more energy and it showed as the Bobcats won both the third and fourth quarters. Ambrea McDonald-Okoro had 10 points and nine rebounds for Brandon, while Aleah Bridges added seven points.
While BU head coach Novell Thomas was happy to win the final two quarters, he was concerned with his players getting beaten on the boards and posting a low shooting percentage. However, he was glad his team got a chance to see how tough the competition will be this season.
"It’s good to get a taste of what one of the better teams in Canada looks like," Thomas said. "In a couple weeks I think they’ll be top-10, so now we know what to expect."
Things will only get tougher for the Bobcats as they have the UBC Thunderbirds, ranked 11th in the country, coming to the Healthy Living Centre today for a game that tips off at 5 p.m. Cooke knows her team will need a better start.
"Hopefully everyone comes into the game and looks at the scoreboard and doesn’t want déjà vu of what happened (against Victoria)," she said.
CAT SCRAPS: Crocus Plains graduate Stephanie Hunter started the game at forward for fifth-year Jaynell Gillett, who was out with a hip injury … Boissevain’s Kinsley Ransom made her Bobcat debut and had five points, an offensive rebound and a steal. Hamiota’s Keegan Robinson also made her debut and sunk her only shot …Victoria’s Allison Mulock did not return after suffering a head injury in a first quarter collision with McDonald-Okoro.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 2, 2013