Griffins get offence rolling, but can't stop balanced Bisons attack in 94-76 defeat

Mackenzie Farmer drives to the hoop through the Manitoba defence on Saturday night. She had a game-high 25 points but the Griffins fell short 94-76 (Eduardo Perez photo).
Mackenzie Farmer drives to the hoop through the Manitoba defence on Saturday night. She had a game-high 25 points but the Griffins fell short 94-76 (Eduardo Perez photo).

Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – An offensive explosion on the backs of five players in double digits in scoring drove the Manitoba Bisons to a 94-76 win over the MacEwan Griffins in Canada West women's basketball action on Saturday night.

It's the fourth-highest offensive output by any team in the conference in 2019-20 as the Bisons completed a weekend sweep of the Griffins and improved to 5-5 in the standings. MacEwan, meanwhile, fell to 2-8.

Keziah Brothers led the Bisons with 19 points, while both Taylor Randall and Lauren Bartlett had 15, while Emily Johnson chipped in 13 and Addison Martin 12. Randall added a game-high nine rebounds, a night after scoring 31 for Manitoba.

"For us, this is what we want to see," said Bisons head coach Michele Sung, pointing to a printed boxscore that gave evidence of their balanced offensive attack. "We've talked a ton about that.

"For us to be sustainable and competitive in our league, we need five people contributing at a high level every night. Last night, it was a little bit lopsided, not that that's a bad thing, but I think in terms of sustainability, that's what you want to see on a Saturday night, in particular."

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On the positive side for the Griffins, their 76 points is a high watermark of offensive production for the season, but the 94 is the most they've allowed.

"Our defence certainly wasn't where we want it to be tonight or this weekend, in fact," said head coach Katherine Adams. "They executed and played with a pace that we struggled at times to keep up with. I think their offensive execution and pace caused us to be really frantic on offence as well because we were trying to match them. Our decisions at the offensive end fed their transition and some of our turnovers."

Manitoba scored 32 points off MacEwan's turnovers, which fed their high point total.

"It's not something, as a coach, you want to see," said Adams. "But it was a great learning opportunity for us moving forward. It was nice to see we finally put some points on the board and found our rhythm at the offensive end a little bit, so that's definitely a plus we can take away from it."

Mackenzie Farmer was front and centre in that charge with a 25-point night to lead all players on the court. She also had a game-high seven steals and added six rebounds. Shannon Majeau chipped in 16 points and seven boards for the Griffins, while rookie Noelle Kilbreath bucketed 11 in just 14:42 on the court.

"She was just assertive and attacking," said Adams of Farmer. "We know she wants the ball and wants to score. I think she did a really good job today finding different ways to score and creating easy opportunities for herself and using her teammates to do so."

In a similar script to Friday's 77-61 Manitoba win, the Bisons took control right from the get-go, jumping out to a 14-3 lead. They never let MacEwan back into the game, eventually stretching it over 20 in the second half as their three-point shot began to hit.

"We were confident in our depth and we knew we were going to be able to keep the pace with multiple lineups," said Sung. "I think that for us when we weren't getting that pace or effort, we had people to go to, which is great.

"I still think they did a great job staying in the game. We were always able to have that little bit of a cushion points-wise. If you didn't see the score, there were a lot of times there you'd think it was a tied game."

MacEwan hits the road Jan. 10-11 for a two-game series at Winnipeg, while Manitoba will visit Mount Royal University on the same dates.