Halifax, NS – The No. 2 seeded Acadia Axewomen are moving on to the AUS semifinals with an 81-73 victory over the No. 7 seeded STFX X-Women in the first of four quarterfinal playoff games at the Subway AUS championship Thursday afternoon at Scotiabank Centre.
While the X-Women kept the score close throughout three quarters, the Axewomen pulled away in the final frame to secure the win.
X-Women interim head coach Tyrone Watson noted, "Overall I thought we matched up against them well. In the second half it kind of got away from us on the offensive rebounding, we didn't box out and they got a lot of easy lay-ups."
"We couldn't make certain in-game adjustments on the fly to stop them which was frustrating, so I feel if we could have done that and cleaned up the glass a little bit then the game would have been a lot closer, it would have been a possession or two and we would have had a better chance."
The teams started off tentatively but Acadia found their scoring touch midway through the quarter after Olivia Moller hit a pair of three-pointers to give the Axewomen a 12-6 lead.
The X-Women trailed by three points, 18-15 after the first quarter of play.
The second quarter was another close one as the X-Women had an 18-16 edge in scoring. Aliyah Fraser sank a pair of three's for X and Tahmala Thorpe followed with a trey to give the X-Women a 28-27 lead midway through.
The back and forth action continued and a late three by Acadia's Elizabeth Beals-Iseyemi made it 34-33 Acadia at the half.
She scored 10 of the Axewomen's points in the opening half, while AUS MVP Jayda Veinot netted 12.
Thorpe and Fraser each scored 11 points for STFX in the first half.
Neither team could make an offensive run in the third quarter as the score remained tight.
The Axewomen started to pull away late in the period. A three-pointer by Beals-Iseyemi with two minutes left gave them a 55-48 edge.
Acadia held a 59-53 advantage after three quarters.
They chipped away and built up a bigger lead in the fourth quarter, lead by AUS leading scorer Veinot. The Axewomen were up by 10 points, 71-61 midway through the final frame.
The X-Women could not overcome the deficit down the stretch and the game closed out with the 81-73 Acadia victory.
Veinot finished with a game-high 30 points for the Axewomen while Subway player of the game Beals-Iseyemi scored 24 and had nine rebounds. Moller contributed 13.
Fraser was the Subway player of the game for the X-Women, scoring 16 points off the bench and contributing five rebounds.
Thorpe scored 22 and had six rebounds, while Kira Athlerley added 13 points and Kim Kingsbury scored 11.
With the win, the Axewomen move on the AUS semifinals on Saturday.
Coach Watson noted, "All in all we're a young team and I'm very proud of these girls and the way they came out, they were resilient and they fought. After having a COVID year, a coaching change during the season, and having a COVID breakout ourselves, they became a very tight-knit group.
"We came together as a family and we had about two months to put things together but I think we showed up well for our fans and our university should be proud of us. We achieved a morale victory and we're getting better."
Courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics