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Women’s b-ballers beat Calgary at Wesmen Classic, continue win streak against ranked foes

| Basketball (W), News

The Lakehead women’s basketball team continued its season-long trend of defeating Canada’s top teams by overcoming the USPORTS #8 ranked Calgary Dinos. The win came in thrilling fashion, with Lily Gruber-Schulz delivering a perfect inbound pass and Leashja Grant converting a buzzer-beater. Lakehead’s women’s basketball team moves on in the non-conference tournament University of Winnipeg Wesmen Classic to play the University of Regina at 8pm on December 29th.

“It was a huge win for us against a very good and skilled Calgary team,” Thunderwolves head coach Jon Kreiner said. “We were down most of the game and were without Leashja most of the game with foul trouble, but our players showed just how tough we are.”

Leashja Grant finished the game with 4 fouls in only 18 minutes of play, but still managed a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Both teams went deep into their benches, with 18 total players seeing double-digit minutes.

“Tiffany was our catalyst with her defense and rebounding, and we certainly wouldn’t have been in a position to win without her,” Kreiner said. Tiffany Reynolds finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, an astounding 8 steals, and 1 block.

The Thunderwolves started slowly in what was an up-tempo, high-pressure game, finishing the first quarter down 19-13. Lakehead shot 6-22 from the floor in the first frame for a field goal percentage of 27.3 to Calgary’s 61.5. The first points of the second quarter came over two minutes into the period, as both teams hounded the opposing ball-handlers with full-court pressure. The Thunderwolves managed to battle back before the half, taking a 26-25 deficit into the break.

The second half continued in close fashion, with the Thunderwolves taking a 44-42 lead into the fourth and final quarter. Nikki Ylagan contributed 8 points in the third frame. Karissa Kajorinne, who finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 steals, opened the final period with a three, bringing Lakehead to one of its biggest leads of the night, 47-42.

The final minute saw Tiffany Reynolds steal the ball and take it uncontested to the other end to bring Lakehead up 63-61. Calgary’s Erin McIntosh then hit one of two free throws to make it 63-62 with 25 seconds left. Lakehead managed another bucket to make it 65-62, but then Dinos guard Bobbi Jo Colburn hit her only three of the night, a step-back bank shot that tied it up with just over a second left. Lakehead then won on the buzzer-beating alley-oop.

“We drew up a back pick lob play for Leashja,” coach Kreiner said, “and Lily threw the pass perfectly for the win at the buzzer.”

The win also continues Lakehead’s success in Winnipeg this season, as the women’s basketball team won the BOB-FM Shootout tournament in October, also hosted by the University of Winnipeg.

“Now we turn around and play Regina who will give us a very different test,” Kreiner said. “They are huge, shoot it well, and have a lot of experience.”

Thunderwolves basketball returns to OUA play in January with away games at the University of Guelph on January 4th and 5th, and will return to the Thunderdome for their first home games of 2019 to face the Windsor Lancers on January 11th and 12th.

[photo credit to David Larkins, Media and Operations Coordinator with Wesmen Athletics]


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