© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Julie Hatcher of the UPEI Panthers guards Grace Wade of the UNB varsity Reds during the game Saturday.
The UPEI Panthers watched a 12-point lead turn into a nine-point deficit but came back to win Saturday in Atlantic University Sport women’s basketball.
The Panthers defeated UNB 58-54 to sweep both weekend games with the Varsity Reds in Charlottetown.
“It’s a whole lot better to win ugly than lose pretty,” coach Greg Gould said. “It wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve ever played, but our kids fought every inch of the way.”
The Panthers led 18-11 after the first quarter but went to the half trailing 30-27. The Reds carried a 42-38 lead to the fourth, before being outscored 20-12 in the final period.
“We know we can do it,” said guard Danielle MacDonald. “Our coaches are amazing. They just keep pushing us and pushing us. They know our strengths and they know what we can do.”
With the Panthers clinging to a one-point lead MacDonald slashed to the basket for a layup to increase the lead to three with 35 seconds to go. The Reds would not get any closer.
“It felt good,” MacDonald said to hit the shot. “We work so well together and worked so hard over the last year that it feels really, really good to pull out that win.”
Tamara Tompkins led the Panthers with 14 points and seven rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.
“We’re peaking at the right time and we just want to keep it going,” said the third-year guard from Centreville, N.B.
MacDonald and Amy Gough each had 12 points while Gough added nine rebounds.
Laura Kaye had 12 points for UNB.
The win improves the Panthers to 7-7 while UNB falls to 3-10.
The Panthers were able to win the contest with Jenna Jones and Candace Smith sidelined with injuries this weekend.
“It really shows the grit and the determination that the girls have now. . . They expect to win,” Gould said.
That was evident with guard Katie Donahoe hobbling a couple of times during the game but still making plays.
“I have coached Katie Donahoe for a long time and she’s one of the toughest kids I know,” Gould said. “She was hobbling, but she wanted to play.”
The Panthers are in Halifax this week for games Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. with Dalhousie.