The Saint Mary’s Huskies women’s basketball team left Fredericton the same they entered — undefeated.
The Huskies improved to a perfect 8-0 on the season and have now defeated the Varsity Reds four times this season — twice at home and twice on the road — following back-to-back wins this past weekend. Their latest victories over UNB came on Friday and Saturday at the Richard J. Currie Center by scores of 58-52 and 58-54, respectively.
Saint Mary’s went 20-0 last season and hasn’t lost a conference game in nearly two years. Although UNB narrowly lost both games, head coach Jeff Speedy said it’s time for his team get over the hump.
“Don’t want to be the bridesmaid forever — we got to win some of these games sometimes,” the coach said following Saturday’s contest.
On Saturday, the Varsity Reds had a strong first quarter, posting 22 points and earning a nine-point lead. But things drastically changed in the second quarter as UNB managed to score just three points. Fortunately for the Reds, their big first quarter lead made up for their ice cold second quarter shooting and they trailed just 30-25 at halftime.
“We panicked. We rushed. I think we had seven turnovers in that quarter and missed five wide open layups,” said Speedy about his team’s second quarter performance. “You’re giving away 10 points on the missed layups and then you’re giving the ball away seven times, so it doesn’t take long to get your point total in single digits doing those two kinds of things.”
UNB regrouped at halftime and had a strong third quarter, outscoring SMU 22-17 and headed into the fourth quarter tied at 47-47. The Huskies scored a few key baskets late in the fourth, edging the V-Reds by a final of 58-54.
“It’s disappointing. We had an undefeated, 7-0 first-place team in our league and they gave us every opportunity to win the game. I thought the girls showed quite a bit of composure, fighting after blowing the first quarter lead and scoring three points in the second quarter. I think we could have easily folded our tents so I was definitely pleased with how they fought. But we’ve got to play a little better. We just made too many mistakes.”
On Friday, the Varsity Reds came extremely close to handing the Huskies their first loss of the season. The game was tied 26-26 at halftime but a big third quarter from UNB put the home side up 42-34 heading into the final frame. Saint Mary’s slowly chipped away at the Reds’ lead in the fourth and finally tied things at 52-52. The Huskies ended up scoring the final 19 points of the match to win 58-52.
The women’s squad plays just one game next weekend, hosting the Dalhousie Tigers on Saturday at 6 p.m. in a four-point game.