Jason Hills, For MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON — Like a bad relationship, the MacEwan Griffins gave far too many second chances to the Mount Royal Cougars and it came back to bite them.
The Griffins were dominated on the offensive glass and that proved to be the biggest difference in their 62-58 loss Saturday afternoon at the David Atkinson gymnasium.
Maddison Hooper scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half to lead the Cougars in the victory. Shannon Majeau led MacEwan with 18 points and three rebounds, while MacKenzie Farmer recorded 14 points, seven steals and six rebounds in the loss.
The Griffins trailed virtually the entire game and went on a 9-0 run in the final 30 seconds to close the gap to 58-56, but were unable to complete the comeback after trailing by as much as 13 points.
"We chased the whole game, and we had that nice run at the end to show that we can come on strong at the end, but it was too little too late," said Griffins head coach Katherine Adams.
"The effort that Mount Royal played with today, earned them the win. They did everything they needed over 40 minutes to make it happen and we just weren't good enough."
While it was another strong effort from the Griffins defensively, MacEwan struggled with confidence on offence and were out-rebounded 51-44 on the glass, including 24-12 on the offensive boards.
"When you give up 24 offensive boards, you're going to make it tough on yourself. We gave them too many extra possessions, and you're really forced to battle," said Adams.
It was a tough shooting performance for both teams, especially in the first half as Mount Royal led 29-20, but the Cougars were shooting just 24.3%, while the Griffins shot just 29.2%.
Hooper was held to just one field goal in the first half, but she caught fire in the third quarter hitting three treys to help give Mount Royal their biggest lead of the game at 40-33 late in the third quarter.
It was a gut-check type of effort from the Cougars. They may have struggled to shoot the ball in the win, but they continued to stay aggressive in the paint and on the glass and it paid off for them.
"We talked a lot last night and this morning about playing with intent and free and it was fun to see them play for each other," said Cougars head coach Robyn Fleckenstein.
"Offensive boards come from playing with that mentality and today we came to play and that's the energy I want us to play with."
Hooper led offensively for the Cougars, but they also got big efforts from guard Sarah Rinsky, who chipped in with eight points, two steals and two assists, and Charity Marlatt had eight points and six rebounds.
Mount Royal had six players to score at least seven points in the win.
"We played with much more confidence today and everyone on the floor found a way to contribute and that's the way we have to play. We need to be a team that score's by committee," said Fleckenstein.
Adams felt this loss stings a little more knowing that despite their struggles on the offensive glass, they still had a chance in the final 30 seconds to tie or win the game, but weren't able to convert with two open looks from beyond the arc.
"Our inability to rebound today, really hurt our confidence offensively," said Adams.
"We defended tough. To hold a team to shooting just over 25% over 71 shots from the floor is really strong, but we didn't rebound well enough and that's something that we can control and we need to be better at."
MacEwan (1-1) travels to Saskatoon next weekend to face the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in a two-game set (Nov.8-9), while Mount Royal is home to the University of Regina for a two game series (Nov. 7-8).