HALIFAX, NS – Saint Mary's guard Courtney Donaldson poured in a game-high 19 points, as the Huskies defeated the STFX X-Women 65-48 on Friday night at the Homburg Centre.
In the early going the X-Women looked to break down the Huskies defence, as dribble penetration from guard Kristine Cooper (Hamilton, ON) led to early layups for forwards Lauren Neeve (Oro-Medonte, ON) and Ekaterina Karchevskaya (Mogilev, BY). But Huskies guards Courtney Donaldson (Kelowna, BC) responded with a pair of three-pointers, and Aki Kobayashi stepped up defensively, causing deflections off of full court pressure and a block on a buzzer beating attempt, to protect a Huskies 16-10 first quarter advantage.
The second quarter saw the Huskies front court take an advantage, as forwards Lucina Beaumont (Fredericton, NB) and Chloe Wilson (Dartmouth, NS) scored some easy inside baskets. While the X-Women eventually scrapped together multiple possessions where the Huskies struggled to keep them off the glass, the Huskies applied enough pressure on the extra attempts to keep the X-Women off the scoreboard. The X-Women scoring drought was ended with a pair of free throws from guard Laia Torrent Blanco (Cornella de Llobregat, SP), and a rare lost dribble from Huskies guard Alaina McMillan (Brantford, ON) led to an and-one in transition from guard Mali Straker (Yellowknife, NT). An invigorated X surged within four points, but remained behind at half, 30-24.
The second half saw more of the same, as McMillan pushed the pace in transition leading to easy baskets for the Huskies. Despite an X-Women timeout, Donaldson drained a confident corner three to give the Huskies their largest lead at 40-24. X-Women forward Shannon Neita (Toronto, ON) brought electric defensive energy throughout the quarter, but, like the rest of her team, struggled with the Huskies defensive schemes that forced drives to the left. Unforgiving Homburg Centre rims continually denied against-the-grain right handed layup attempts, and the Huskies margin widened to 44-27 at the end of the third.
X-Women guard Katie Upham (North River, NS) started off strong in the fourth with her first three pointer, an uncontested left side layup, and a rare opportunity on her right hand. Whipping the ball around the perimeter, the Huskies found guard Clara Gascoigne (Dartmouth, NS) for a three at the end of the shot cloc. While Upham continued to attack the pick-and-roll, finding Karchevskaya for three points of her own, Gascoigne replied in kind, and the Huskies maintained a double digit lead for the rest of the game, eventually winning 65-48.
The Huskies were led by Courtney Donaldson's 19 points (4-9 3PT). The versatile Clara Gascoigne (13 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and Alana McMillan (11 points, eight rebounds, five assists) were also instrumental in the Huskies victory.
The X-Women's Shannon Neita had a double double, with 13 points on 5-10 shooting plus 11 rebounds. Katie Upham provided eight points in the fourth quarter, alongside nine rebounds and three assists.
The Huskies win improves their record to 6-2, heading into the winter break. They'll host the Dalhousie Tigers on Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. for their first game of 2024.
The X-Women loss drops their record to 2-6 on the campaign. They'll host the Memorial Sea-Hawks on Jan. 5 at 6 p.m.
Recap by Dr. Casper Macaulay / Saint Mary's Huskies Athletics