© Guardian Photo By Jason Malloy
UPEI Panthers guard Katelynn Donahoe shoots around Cape Breton Capers forward Kayla Gardner.
The UPEI Panthers control their own destiny.
With four games remaining in the Atlantic University Sport women’s basketball season, the Panthers don’t need help to make the playoffs.
“If we win two games at Memorial right now we’re in the playoffs,” said coach Greg Gould. “Worse-case scenario is we’re going over to Memorial having to win two games to make the playoffs.”
The Panthers helped their cause in a big way Sunday with a 53-31 victory over the Cape Breton Capers. It was the second four-point victory of the weekend as UPEI defeated UNB on Friday.
“It was a big four points. We needed that for when we go to MUN,” third-year guard Amy Gough said after Sunday’s victory.
The Panthers are sixth with 16 points, four back of Memorial (MUN) for the fifth and final playoff spot.
UPEI hosts St. F.X. for a pair of two-point games Friday and Saturday before ending the season with two four-point games in St. John’s on Feb. 22 and 23. Memorial plays at last-place UNB Saturday and Sunday. Both games are worth two points.
The Panthers and the Capers both started slowly Sunday with UPEI holding a slim 8-5 advantage after the first 10 minutes. The Panthers blew out the Capers 23-8 in the second and never looked back. Nakita Newman led the way with 15 points, nine rebounds and two steals for the Panthers. Danielle MacDonald added nine points, two rebounds and two assists.
“I think all the girls just had so much energy built up from the UNB game. We just want playoffs so bad, we’re working so hard and working together,” said third-year guard MacDonald, a Sydney Mines native who grew up watching the Capers.
Katelynn Donahoe turned in a strong effort. She had two points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal while holding the Capers best player, Tanira McClurkin, to five points.
“She’s just gives it her all and works so hard,” MacDonald said.
“If I was picking the player of the game I would have given it to Katie Donahoe,” he said. “She did such a good job on McClurkin. She is their player, if you control her, you really control that club and Katie did an unbelievable job.”
The Panthers were scheduled to play Cape Breton Saturday, but it was pushed back a day due to the storm.
“It was tough, but it gave us a whole day of rest too,” Gough admitted. “It was a big weekend, we needed these two wins.”
Gould said the team believes it can win after dealing with a tough schedule early on. “We knew that if we could continue to persevere, even though we weren’t winning, we were getting better, eventually we would get some wins,” he said.
u Final Score - UPEI 53, Cape Breton 31.
u Top Scorers - UPEI: Nakita Newman, 15; Danielle MacDonald, 9; Cape Breton:– Brittany Hollins, 12
u Score By Quarters -
Team 1 2 3 4
UPEI 8 23 9 13
Cape Breton 5 8 11 7
u Up Next – UPEI hosts St. F.X. Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m.