Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics
WINNIPEG – Well, the Griffins certainly made life tougher on Canada West leading scorer Antoinette Miller of the Winnipeg Wesmen – doubling and sometimes even triple-teaming her on Saturday night.
Unfortunately, she still scored 16 points (to go with eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals) and the Wesmen reaped the added benefits of the floor opening up for her teammates as they rolled to a 68-56 win.
"Obviously having a player like Miller on the floor, she's tough to defend," said Griffins head coach Katherine Adams. "You try to force someone else to beat us and all the credit to Winnipeg tonight that they had kids step up and hit shots.
"That's how the game goes sometimes. You try to force them to do something different and they had a counter to it. Good on them for that."
Robyn Boulanger, one of the biggest beneficiaries, strung together three-straight treys at one point in the third quarter and finished with 15 points on sizzling 5-for-8 shooting from behind the arc. Faith Hezekiah chipped in 13 points.
The Griffins were down 20 entering the fourth quarter when Adams implored them to finish strong.
"We made a push at the end," she said. "I said to the team 'we've got to compete and battle. This isn't over.' I thought we really came out and had a good fourth quarter. We kind of closed the gap and then had a lull at the end again and just ran out of steam to make it a game.
"It's really good learning for us in what we need to compete with the good teams in our conference consistently for 40 minutes two nights every weekend."
Kayla Ivicak finished with a big double-double to lead the Griffins, producing 20 points and 15 rebounds, adding three steals in 38 minutes of work. Paige Knull, with the tough assignment of guarding Miller, had nine points and a game-high five steals in 32 minutes.
"Again, Paige defended Miller and did an excellent job, I thought – just being by her side for 32 minutes," said Adams. "Kayla had a good night tonight. It was a big double-double for her. As we've seen so many times before, she just gives us so much in so many ways.
"It was nice to see in the end when we kind of made a push that a lot of our young kids had an opportunity to step up," she added. "Hannah Gibb hit a couple threes. Hallie (Watt) had some good moments defensively and hit a couple shots down the stretch. Keri (MacLennan) was tough on the glass. A lot of people found a lot of different ways to chip in."
So, the Griffins head into the semester break with a 3-7 record, just a game back of the final playoff spot. They resume action on Jan. 5-6 when they will host Saskatchewan (9-1).