UPEI Panther Danielle Macdonald heads down the court past Saint Mary's Huskies' Shanieka Wood during action Sunday afternoon in the Atlantic University Sport women's basketball championship game in Halifax.
©Photo special to The Guardian by Nick Pearce
A couple of missed shots on one end; a couple of shots made at the other.
UPEI women's basketball coach Mark English said that was the difference on Sunday as the Panthers fought hard but fell 59-51 to the Saint Mary's Huskies in the Atlantic University Sport championship game in Halifax.
"A couple of their shots went in at the right time and a couple of ours didn't,'' English told The Guardian. "I thought we were prepared and I thought we executed the game plan perfectly.''
Laura Langille had 17 points and Emma Valikoski chipped in with 16 to lead Saint Mary's to its third consecutive AUS title.
For the Panthers, Laura Power led the team with 13 points while Amy Gough scored 11 points.
In the first minute of play, Valikoski opened up the scoring for the Huskies. Power responded a few seconds later for the Panthers.
Tight defensive play from both teams and shooting troubles plagued the game for the next five minutes, keeping both teams off the scoreboard. Valiokoski put an end to the drought with four and half minutes remaining in the quarter.
The score remained close and stood at 9-8 for the Huskies by the end of the first frame.
Saint Mary's extended its lead to 21-16 in the second quarter with five points from Valikoski, four from Langille and three from Angelina Carvery.
Power responded for UPEI with four points in the quarter while teammates Terrilyn Herrick and Tamara Tompkins chipped in two apiece.
The Huskies led by as much as 14 points in the third frame with Langille chipping in eight points in the quarter.
The Panthers worked to close the gap. Gough posted seven points in the quarter for UPEI, as the Panthers closed the gap to four points to close out the third frame 38-34.
In the final quarter, the Panthers battled to within three points on two occasions but they were unable to take the lead.
Saint Mary's sunk seven of eight free throws to put the game out of reach, 59-51.
Langille was named player of the game for the Huskies, posting a double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
The five members of the AUS championship all-star team were UPEI's Gough and Power, Langille and Carvery from Saint Mary's and Alison Keough from the Cape Breton Capers.
Angelina Carvery was also named championship most valuable player.
The Huskies advance to the CIS women's basketball Final 8 championship, March 12-15, in Quebec City.
The Panthers advanced to the championship game on Saturday with a 70-59 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers. Herrick scored 12 points to lead the Panthers.
English said Sunday's loss obviously isn't the result the team wanted but he couldn't be more proud of the women on the team.
"I thought we shot pretty well and our defence was awesome. It just didn't work out today. We came up short but we should be proud. We turned this program around.''
Sunday's loss is the end of the road in a Panther jersey for six of the players -Herrick, Jenna Jones, Gough, Julie Hatcher, Danielle MacDonald and Power.
English said he wanted to give those players a special shout out and thank them for everything they've done for the program.
(With files from Atlantic University Sport)