The UNBC Timberwolves found a path to their first victory of the season Friday night at the Northern Sport Centre, a gritty 69-57 win over the visiting Grant McEwan University Griffins.
Fourth-year local product Rebecca Landry led the charge offensively for UNBC with a team-high 22 points along with four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Bella Mesquita and Amrit Manak both chimed in with 11 points apiece, while Svetlana Boykova pulled down 12 rebounds.
Toni Gordon answered with a team-high nine points for the Griffins, while Allie Spenrath, Makenzie Reeve and Samantha Hickey all added eight points.
The hosts roared out of the gates with a 16-1 run. Seven of those points came courtesy of Manak while Landry added five of her own. Manak and Landry would combine for 15 points in the opening quarter.
Some tough defense from the home side resulted in five GMU turnovers through the first five minutes and the Griffins started the game 0-for-6 from the field. It took six-and-a-half minutes for MacEwan to nab their first field goal which came from a Toni Gordon layup. The Griffins responded with a 9-0 run of their own on the strength of four consecutive successful free throws from Allie Spenrath. Mesquita ended the GMU run with an elbow three pointer. Landry and Toki Tsuzuki traded late threes and the hosts led 23-15 through one quarter.
A 10-2 run for GMU to start the second quarter inched the visitors back to within one, but a clutch trey from Landry restored some balance to the UNBC attack. The Griffins stayed resilient though and tied the score at 28-28 after a Maggie Smith three-pointer. Smith then hit a single free throw the next time down the floor but five unanswered points from the sharpshooting Mesquita helped put UNBC back on top until the final minute of the half. With 30 seconds left Makenzie Reeve hit a turnaround shot for the Griffins to put them ahead 36-35. Despite leading for over 18 minutes of the first half, the T-wolves trailed by one after 20.
The third quarter was a defensive struggle, as the two teams combined for just 12 points through the first seven minutes. Four points in a 32 second span from Boykova helped stake UNBC to a three-point lead, which held up as UNBC took a 47-44 lead into the final 10.
Ten of Landry’s 22 points came in the final quarter as the T-wolves bent, but did not break as they built up a seven-point lead with less than a minute to go.
UNBC finished the night 9-for-11 from the free-throw line and added 20 fast-break points.
The Timberwolves (1-2) and Griffins (0-5) will clash once again tomorrow at 5 p.m. at the Northern Sports Centre.