The UPEI Panthers want to make the St. F.X. X-Women earn everything they get this weekend.
The Panthers, who currently sit sixth in the Atlantic University Sport women’s basketball conference with 16 points, host the third-ranked X-Women today at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m.
“The big thing for us is not to turn the ball over and our transition defence has to be good,” coach Greg Gould said.
The Panthers have won back-to-back games and three of its past four.
UPEI is chasin Memorial for the final playoff spot. The teams meet next weekend in St. John’s in the final two games of the regular season. Each game is worth four points.
“Right now we’re looking to win four more games in the conference and go into the playoffs on a real run,” Gould said.
The team will be in tough this weekend against an X team whose starting five are all at least six feet tall.
“It’s harder for our smalls to matchup,” Gould said. “It’s pretty hard to play two small guards against X’s starting lineup.”
The X-Men are a high-scoring team (73 points per game) who leads the country in field goals attempted with 68.6 per game.
Forward Lia St. Pierre and post Kolbi Roper lead the X-Women with nearly 16 points and eight rebounds per game. But they are a deep team too with Vanessa Pickard averaging 12 points and nearly four rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
“They have all the parts to be a winning team,” Gould said.
The Panthers have split two games with St. F.X. in Antigonish, N.S., this season. They won 85-81 Nov. 17 and loss 67-61 Feb. 2. It led the game earlier this month late in the game.
“We have to believe we have at least a good shot of upsetting them a couple of times,” Gould said.
Nakita Newman and Amy Gough lead the Panthers at nearly 11 points per game.
Saturday will be the final home game for fifth-year Panthers Carly LaFave and Emily MacEachern.
It may also be Julia McKenna’s final home game as the fourth-year guard will graduate this spring, but has not decided what she will do next year.