Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
-With files from David Larkins, Wesmen Athletics
WINNIPEG – Another slow-shooting start doomed the MacEwan Griffins women's basketball team to an 83-68 defeat to the Winnipeg Wesmen on Friday night.
In what's been a recurring theme in their five-game losing streak, the Griffins fell behind 21-8 after the first quarter and never could get a foothold in a contest they never led in.
"The first quarter we got behind, and we couldn't score," explained MacEwan head coach Katherine Adams. "We had a tough time scoring. Their defensive pressure took us out of rhythm a little bit. That certainly affects us on the defensive end.
"Second quarter, we kind of found our rhythm a little bit and got on the scoreboard. We just couldn't get stops defensively, which put us in a position where we were down 14 going into the half-time break."
In another case of if it's not one thing it's the other, the Griffins alternated struggles at the offensive and defensive end and the Winnipeg lead grew to 20 after three quarters.
"Every possession matters," stressed Adams. "You have to make sure you're generating the best shot every possession. A poor shot selection or turnover just fuels their offence. Now instead of being down eight, you're down 10 or 12 or 14. Then it just gets harder and harder to claw your way out of that hole."
The Griffins shot just 38.2 per cent from the field, compared to 52.7 per cent for the Wesmen. Both teams topped 30 in turnovers, but MacEwan was outrebounded 41-33.
"We certainly missed some easy ones that would have made a difference, but that's the way it goes," said Adams. "Part of Winnipeg's pressure forces you to rush that a little bit and we didn't handle it very well and weren't able to convert."
With the result, the Wesmen improved to 7-4, while MacEwan fell to 2-9 in the Canada West standings.
Anna Kernaghan bucketed 18 for Winnipeg, Lena Wenke had 16, Robyn Boulanger 13, Jessica Dyck 12 and Deborah Nkiasi 11 as the Wesmen improved to 5-4 without leading scorer and rebounder Faith Hezekiah, who hasn't played since suffering an injury in the first game of the season.
The teams will meet again on Saturday (6 p.m. MT, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).
"We'll look at film and see," said Adams of what they can change up in the rematch. "In general, I thought we got some good looks – second half particularly. We got the ball inside and it worked well for us. Hopefully we can build on that tomorrow."