A sweet shot by Jennifer Bruce capped off a fourth-quarter comeback.
Bruce, a fourth-year guard from Langley, drained a game-winning three-pointer for the UNBC Timberwolves Thursday night at the Northern Sport Centre. Her shot, with 23.4 seconds left on the clock, lifted the T-wolves to a 79-76 victory against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen in Canada West women's basketball.
Bruce, who had taken a pass on the wing from Mercedes Van Koughnett, was a little worried when she was setting up for the trey attempt because she had such a wide-open look at the hoop.
"No one [for the Wesmen] was even near me," she said. "I had so much time so I tried to be slow and take my time to get ready because I didn't want to rush it."
Bruce need not have been concerned. Her shot hit nylon and stood up as the decisive bucket. Bruce finished with a game-high 20 points and was happy to find her shooting form because she had been struggling in recent outings.
UNBC trailed Winnipeg 61-58 after three quarters but outscored the Wesmen 21-15 in the fourth to pick up the win.
The T-wolves played a much better team game in the third and fourth quarters. In the fourth, they were sparked by some key minutes from rookie post player Jasprit Nijjar and a couple big offensive rebounds by fourth-year forward Emily Kaehn.
"I thought the first half we played very individualized," said coach Loralyn Murdoch. "The second half, we took to heart what was said at halftime. We can't rely on any one person."
Sarah Robin added 12 points for UNBC, Van Koughnett had 11 and Kaehn hit for 10. Rookie post player Lauren Anderson paced the Wesmen with 12 points, all of them in the first half.
The Wesmen led 21-17 after the first quarter and 43-36 at the break.
The Timberwolves are now on a two-game winning streak and elevated their record to 5-8. The Wesmen dropped to 5-9.
In men's action later Thursday night, the Wesmen downed the Timberwolves 91-83. For the third consecutive game, the T-wolves struggled in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. With five minutes left to play, they trailed 79-77 but were outscored 12-6 the rest of the way.
"Teams turn the intensity up in the fourth quarter and we just haven't responded for a few games in a row now," said fifth-year UNBC guard Francis Rowe. "We just have to crank it up as well. We miss key stops and we miss executing [offensively] at the other end and it hurts us over time."
Benny Iko led the winners with 26 points, while Charles Barton had a team-best 17 for UNBC.
With the victory, the Wesmen bumped their record to 10-4. The T-wolves -- now on a three-game skid -- dropped to 5-8.
The Timberwolves teams will be back on the NSC court on Saturday to face the University of Manitoba Bisons. The women's game will start at 6 p.m. and the men will tip off at 8 p.m.