Charlottetown, PEI - The Rainford sisters put on a show during Friday's home opener, leading the UPEI Panthers to a dominant 67-36 victory over the STFX X-Women.
Lauren and Aiden Rainford combined for an impressive 30 points. Lauren was an absolute force on the court, pouring in a game-high 19 points with six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Her offensive prowess was on full display as she varied her attack with jump shots and aggressive drives to the rim.
Aiden, not to be outdone by her sister, contributed a valuable 11 points of her own. But it was on the defensive end where she had the biggest impact. The veteran forward also finished with six rebounds, six steals, and five blocks.
Devon Lawlor added 17 points for the Panthers (2-1), shooting an efficient 5-of-9 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range.
On the other side, Shannon Neita was the lone X-Woman to reach double figures, as she finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, and four steals.
Both teams struggled out of the gate in an early 6-6 game. It wasn't until the 6:40 mark when the Panthers' offence erupted. Over the next three minutes, Samantha Zoffranieri and Deborah Aboagye connected on shots before Lauren scored five straight points to pull UPEI ahead 16-6. They led 16-7 after a quarter of action.
Lauren ended a mini 4-0 STFX (0-3) run to start the second quarter with a three-pointer the other way to keep it at an eight-point lead. Moments later, Lawlor drilled back-to-back triples to push the lead to 26-11.
STFX cut it to 10 late in the half, but the Panthers closed the quarter strong and went into the break ahead 31-17. Lauren led all scorers with 12 points after 20 minutes of action.
Points were hard to come by again in the third quarter, and it wasn't until the final minutes that the Panthers pulled away. With 2:11 to go, Zoffranieri and Aiden went to work, scoring seven straight points to extend the lead to 45-27. Ekaterina Karchevskaya added a layup late, but St. FX still trailed 45-29 going into the fourth quarter.
The Panthers put the game away early in the final frame thanks to a 17-0 run that lasted about four minutes. Lawlor scored eight of those points, which included two three-pointers to make it 64-34 before UPEI came away with their second win of the season, 67-36.
The two teams will square off again Saturday at 4 p.m.
Recap courtesy Thomas Becker