Kiberd, Panthers teammates ready for sudden-death playoffs

Jason Malloy
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Anne Kiberd knows what at stake today when she steps on the floor at the Scotiabank Centre in her hometown.

The Halifax native could be playing her final Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women's basketball game as the UPEI Panthers start their sudden-death playoffs.

"It's hitting me harder and harder everyday, but I know that I am excited and I know that I am prepared," Kiberd said before Wednesday's practice.

Kiberd started her university career at Dalhousie in 2009-10. She transferred to St. FX, where she studied psychology, and sat out a year before playing two seasons for the X-Women. She transferred to UPEI to pursue nursing, sat out another year before wearing the green and white for the past two seasons.

"I have like seven years under my belt, so I feel like I am ready (for today's game)," said Kiberd, who has dealt with a foot injury this season. "I know I've had injuries, but I do feel ready to give everything I have."

The Panthers (6-14) play the UNB Varsity Reds (12-8) today at 1 p.m. They split regular-season games with each squad winning on home court.

UPEI made it to the AUS final a year ago, but seven players from the squad are not back this season.

Kiberd said it has been an up and down season, but she thinks the team is peaking at the right time.

"Over the past couple of weeks . . . we've really been coming together on and off the court, and I feel like we're on a rise right now."

The Panthers have relied heavily on its veterans, including fifth-year players Kiberd, point guard Katie Donahoe and Tamara Tompkins. Post player Elysia Drost, who will graduate this spring.

"They're some of the hardest-working people I know," Kiberd said. "I know that they're ready to go out and give everything they've worked for for the past four or five years. That definitely gives me confidence and makes me feel a lot more relaxed."

Donahoe was named to the conference's second all-star team on Thursday. The Riverview, N.B., native averaged 11.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists while playing the most minutes in the country at 759. She averaged 37.95 minutes a game. Teams play 40-minute games.

Forwards Kiera Rigby and Jane McLaughlin are also key contributors for the Panthers.

UPEI, which has seven freshmen on its bench, was ranked seventh in the eight-team conference in the pre-season coaches' poll.

Panthers head coach Greg Gould said he heard many times this year the underclassmen wanted to get the vets to the post-season.

"Our goal from the beginning was to get to the AUS playoffs where anything can happen," he said.

"We'll play hard. We'll play for UPEI pride and respect. We want to win and compete the next day."

Organizations: Holland College, Atlantic University Sport, Scotiabank Centre

Geographic location: Halifax, Cape Breton, Saint Mary Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • Panther fan
    March 04, 2016 - 19:42

    Your goal was just to barely get into playoffs? You had a team that could've placed easily in the top three