UNB women’s basketball head coach Jeff Speedy certainly didn’t get the performance he was expecting from his team on Saturday night.
The UNB Varsity Reds women’s basketball team, who could have clinched an Atlantic University Sport playoff spot with a victory, had plenty of struggles in their 69-52 loss to the UPEI Panthers at the Richard J. Currie Center.
“They were more aggressive, they were hungrier, they were more engaged, they shot the ball better, they rebounded the ball better… I can’t pick a single thing we did better than them for any more than 30 seconds. If I knew why (we played like that), I’d probably be coaching in the WNBA instead of here. I don’t know why.”
Speedy said that with the Panthers playing the night before and travelling on game day, the stars were perfectly aligned for UNB to have a strong performance — but they certainly didn’t.
“We didn’t come out ready to play and that followed through for the rest of the quarters,” said forward Jane Boyle. “We have to pick it up in the next couple weeks if we want to make the playoffs and do well in playoffs.
“I just don’t think we were very focused. We just didn’t come out ready and that needs to change for next weekend.
Boyle was one of the few bright spots for the Varsity Reds, coming off the bench to record 14 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes of action.
“I played my best so I’m happy with that,” she said. “But still, it’s a team effort and we didn’t pull through together.”
UPEI led early on but the Varsity Reds kept the first quarter fairly close throughout, trailing by four at the buzzer. In the second, UPEI started to pull away and led 38-29 at halftime.
In the second half, the Panthers continued to roll, leading the squad to a 69-52 victory.
Amy Gough and Anne Kiberd led the Panthers in scoring with 13 points each. Tamara Tompkins, a former Varsity Red, registered 12 points and won player of the game honours.
The Varsity Reds now have a record of 7-9 for 18 points. They currently sit sixth overall, which is the league’s final playoff spot. Fortunately for UNB, the two teams that sit below them, StFX and Acadia, sit a distant 10 points back.
UNB travels to StFX and Dalhousie this weekend. Speedy said he’ll be working his team hard in practice this week.
“We’re definitely going to address being a lot tougher in practice on one another so that we’re a little bit more ready for it on the weekend,” the coach said.
“We’re going to practice really, really hard. It’s not the time of year to have a punishment practice but I’m just going to hold them a lot more accountable.”