Griffins mine lessons out of tough weekend sweep against U SPORTS No. 1 Saskatchewan

Hayley Lalor led the Griffins with six rebounds against the Saskatchewan Huskies on Saturday night (Robert Antoniuk photo).
Hayley Lalor led the Griffins with six rebounds against the Saskatchewan Huskies on Saturday night (Robert Antoniuk photo).

Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics

-With files from Huskie Athletics

SASKATOON – For a second-straight night, the MacEwan Griffins had no answer for the No. 1-ranked women's basketball team in the U SPORTS ranks.

Playing at another level, the Saskatchewan Huskies rolled to a 93-39 win over the visiting Griffins to record the weekend sweep, starting a Canada West campaign 4-0 for the second time in the past three seasons.

"They're a veteran talented team and they're number one for a reason," said MacEwan head coach Katherine Adams, whose team falls to 1-3.

Sabine Dukate shot the lights out from beyond the arc, going 7-for-9 on three-pointers to lead the Huskies with 23 points. Brianna Fehr chipped in 19, the most in her four seasons wearing in the green and white, while also adding six rebounds. 

Hayley Lalor, sister of former Huskies guard Kelsey, registered three points and a team-high six boards for the Griffins. Mackenzie Farmer and Shannon Majeau each had eight points and three rebounds to pace the Griffins, who started strong – only down 9-7 five minutes into the game – but just couldn't keep up with the defending Canada West champions. 

"We want to play against the best teams and best players in the country," said Adams. "That's only going to make us better. Sask takes advantage of every error you make. Every time you don't hit a body, they get an O board. Every time you're late on a close out, they're attacking. Every time you miss a rotation, they knock down an open three, which they did a lot of.

"It's a really good learning opportunity. It was just our focus to work on how we can get better. It's not necessarily in terms of the scoreboard but in terms of our style of play and what we do so we can grow and get better."

Saskatchewan's deep rotation was a significant factor in the win, as they outscored MacEwan 42-9 in bench points.

The Griffins hopped out to a quick 7-4 lead in the opening quarter, which saw the Huskies head to the bench early in the ball game. However, the home side responded and Dukate took over. The fifth-year guard connected on all four of her attempts from three-point range in the frame, helping the Huskies to go on a 24-1 run to take a 28-8 lead after the end of the first.

Their momentum carried over into their second quarter, hopping out to a quick 8-0 run to begin the frame. Four different Huskies hit from beyond the arc in the quarter, allowing the team to take control of the contest and in turn, take a 49-16 lead into halftime.

The Huskies took control defensively in the third quarter, holding the Griffins off the score sheet from the 6:04 mark of the frame on until the buzzer sounded to close the third.

Saskatchewan outscored MacEwan 19-17 in the fourth, with 12 of the 19 points for the Huskies coming from Fehr, as the hosts were able to ride out the final ten minutes to record the sweep.

Adams noted the Griffins' play in the fourth quarter was about building something to take into next weekend against Thompson Rivers University, who will visit the David Atkinson Gym on Nov. 15-16 (6 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively, both on Canada West TV presented by Co-op).

"The fourth quarter, I felt we really fought hard. How do we want to go into our next weekend against Thompson Rivers? I thought we had a few players who really fired us up and led the charge with that. Ellie (McCarthy) was a big presence on the bench and on the floor just demanding the ball. I thought Darian (Mahmi) provided some fire at the defensive end that really sparked us in the fourth quarter to get going."