Maria Mongomo’s back-to-back 30-point games last weekend marked the first time a Canada West women’s basketball player had done so in eight seasons.
Friday night she made it three games in a row, scoring 31 points to lead the UNBC Timberwolves to a 78-67 win over the Brandon Bobcats at the Northern Sport Centre.
The win was the third straight for the T-wolves (6-9) who remained 12th in the Canada Weest standings. Brandon (1-14) ranks last in the league.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair as the two teams took turns holding small leads. The Bobcats showed good ball movement, leading to some open looks for Logan Biccum inside. For UNBC, Maria Mongomo picked up where she left off last week, getting to her spots for 11 first-quarter points. After 10 minutes, the T-wolves held a slight 18-14 lead.
In the second quarter the two closely-matched teams continued their war of attrition. T-wolves fourth-year post Emma vanBruinessen began to assert herself in the paint, earning layups on offensive rebounds.
Adrianna Proulx, Brandon’s leading scorer on the season, found some soft spots in the UNBC defense, making midrange jumpers to cut into the deficit. She headed into halftime with 10 points and seven rebounds, but the Timberwolves led 39-31.
“We tried to prepare, but I don’t think we came out with enough energy or urgency down low,” said Proulx. “That will be really important for tomorrow, so they aren’t getting in the paint and getting those points.”
The Timberwolves started to bear down defensively in the third, getting timely stops and turning them into offense at the other end. Mongomo continued to create problems for the Bobcats, while vanBruinessen chipped in with her signature effort and grit.
Sydney Latrace Sydney Teece were able to make tough buckets, but it was UNBC up 62-47 with a quarter to go.
“They’re tall, but they don’t have as much meat on their bones compared to teams like UFV and TRU,” said vanBruinessen. “We tried to body them up a little bit, and it was working.”
The Bobcats did well to try to cut into UNBC’s lead in the fourth, but when they’d claw to within striking distance, the T-wolves would get a tough bucket to go. At the final buzzer, UNBC had earned a hard-fought 78-67 win over the gritty Bobcats.
“We just need W’s, honestly,” said vanBruinessen. “I don’t think we played awesome. Tomorrow, if we play our game, I think we can pull off another win.”
Mongomo finished with 31 points, 12 rebounds, six steals, and two assists. vanBruinessen had a season high 23 points, to go along with 12 boards and three steals. Madison Landry had 13 points, eight rebounds, and three assists.
Proulx was the offensive engine for the Bobcats, finishing with 22 points and nine rebounds. Hailey Maas played the role of distributor with 10 points, six assists, and four rebounds., Sydney Latrace also reached double figures with 12 points.
“We have to have a way better first half,” said Proulx. “Our first half really determined the game for us. Tomorrow will be better for us.”
Game time Saturday is 5 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 7.