MacEwan Athletics and Victoria Athletics
VICTORIA – Eliminated from playoff contention after Friday night action, the MacEwan Griffins closed out the Canada West women's basketball season with an 87-58 loss to the Victoria Vikes on Saturday night.
That they were able to take their post-season bid into the final weekend of the season is the positive takeaway amid the disappointment of falling short of the top 12 positions with a 6-14 record.
"Obviously it's disappointing," said head coach Katherine Adams. "If there are some games we could do over, we'd certainly like to have that opportunity to potentially put us in a different situation than we are now. But I still look at how young we are and how much we rely on 18- and 19-year-olds to carry a huge portion of the load for us. For the majority of the year, we started four second-years and that's a pretty big expectation to put on them.
"I think we look moving forward and say 'what great experience you've gained from this. Yes, it's disappointing now, but let's learn from it to carry forward the legacy that Kayla (Ivicak) has set out for us and grow from this opportunity that we've had so that next year we're in a different situation.' "
Ivicak added one more gemstone to her star-studded Griffins career with her ninth double double of the season to tie her own school record for most in a Canada West campaign set in 2017-18. Her 13-point, 10-rebound effort on Saturday was also the 22nd double double of her university career, putting her into a tie for 12th best in Canada West history.
"It's certainly something that you like to see – Kayla end her career in typical Kayla fashion," said Adams. "Once again, she was just doing what she does best."
Ivicak and Kristen Monfort-Palomino played the final games of their Griffins careers on Saturday and the legacy they'll leave won't soon be forgotten.
"My third year with the program – certainly her and Kristen having been here all those years have laid the foundation of who we are and what we're about," said Adams. "I said to the team in the locker-room after, people know our brand now, people know how we play, people know what to expect. That's a huge testament to the work they've all put in, but those two in particular to buying into the vision and putting forth their best effort to make sure that's who we are, that's our identity."
Amira Giannattasio scored more than half of Victoria's points, netting 44 in the final game of her Vikes career. That brings her to 1539 career points – third all-time in Vikes scoring and 13th all-time in Canada West.
"It was surreal to be able to go out with a win tonight," commented Giannattasio. "My family flew in from Hamilton for the game, so I am glad I was able to perform the way I did in front of them. It was a special experience for all of us."
After a tightly contested first quarter, the Vikes broke away and sustained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. Giannattasio dropped a total of 19 points in the first half to give her team 44-29 advantage at the break. Gibb and Darian Mahmi who each recorded six points led the Griffins' balanced offence.
The second half was a similar story to the first. The Vikes continued to build on their lead with Giannattasio continuing to drop shots left and right but also getting some complementary offence from teammate Aleah Ashlee who had posted 13 points heading into the final frame.