X-Women upset nationally ranked Reds

Photo credit James West
Photo credit James West

(FREDERICTON, NB) The visiting STFX X-Women upset the U SPORTS No. 9 UNB REDS 76-72 in Atlantic University Sport women's basketball action Friday night at UNB's Richard J. Currie Center.

Ekaterina Karchevskaya (Mogliev, Belarus) scored a game-high 28 points to lead the X-Women.

STFX head coach Matt Spencer noted, "We're still fighting for a playoff spot, so that gets us one step closer, but more than anything, it's a group that understands that if you stick to a game plan and you execute and you play with that kind of courage the sky is the limit."

"I'm really, really proud of how the team played. I can't say enough about the connection in that room." 

The X-Women were aggressive in the opening quarter, taking a 17-12 lead late into the frame.

X led 18-16 after 10 minutes.

The visitors continued to hold an advantage through the mid-way point of the second quarter, as the REDS struggled to find their offence.

"I thought we had a great start and when they made their second punch, we got a little bit tentative," said REDS' head coach Erin McAleenan. "We didn't finish well inside, which made it tough for us. We struggled inside and we struggled to be able to finish and shot below our averages. Still, we were up in the last couple of minutes and couldn't close it out."

At the half, the X-Women held a slim 40-38 lead.

Jayda Veinot (Port Williams, NS) scored the first points of the second half, a three-point basket that gave UNB a brief lead.

The teams then traded baskets in a back-and-forth third quarter before Maheva Ngassam (Saint Hubert, QC) and Veinot combined to push UNB ahead 54-46.

The REDS led 56-55 after 30 minutes.

Early in the fourth, the X-Women pulled ahead 63-60.

Once again, the REDS battled back.

A Leah Travers (Calgary, AB) three and a Ngassam two-pointer pulled UNB to within one at 70-69.

A possession later, Jolianne Guay (Prevost, QC) hit for three to tie the game 72-72.

But the visitors would not be denied and won 76-72.

"What you just saw is the template of what X-Women basketball is supposed to look like," said X-Women head coach Matt Spencer. "It's supposed to be up tempo, it's supposed to be gritty, it's supposed to be uncomfortable to play against. It wasn't one magical tactic, it was really just the culmination of this is who we're trying to be and tonight we looked like the vision we've set out for ourselves."

The loss drops the REDS record to 13-4, good for second place in the AUS standings.

The X-Women are now 7-10 and are in sixth place.

Veinot finished the night with 22 points and seven rebounds, including the 500th of her AUS career.

Her 22 points gives her 1628 in her career and moves her to 8th on the AUS all-time scoring list.

Erin Ingalls (St. George, NB) scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double.

Shannon Neita (Toronto, ON) had the same scoring line for the X-Women, while Avery Walker (Ottawa, ON) came off the X bench to score a dozen points.

The REDS and X-Women will close out their weekend series Saturday. Tip-off is at 2:00pm.

"What I'm most curious about is how we're going to respond," said Coach McAleenan. "We're the team that has the pressure and we have to learn how to play with that. It's a choice and a decision. I know that we can do it. It's just a matter of if we're going to be able to tomorrow."


Recap courtesy Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics