Charlottetown, PE - The UPEI Panthers played to a 72-68 win over the StFX X-Women Friday night in the final weekend of AUS regular season play.
Jamie McCarron got it going early for StFX, drilling a pair of mid-range jumpers to give them an early lead, but Panther guards Jenna Mae Ellsworth and Reese Baxendale countered with back-to-back threes to pull ahead.
The X-Women did a good job containing Kiera Rigby off the dribble as she went 0-of-4 out of the gate. But the MVP candidate bounced back late in the quarter with a pair of triples to give the Panthers a 22-20 advantage.
StFX opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run to storm ahead 29-24. After UPEI regained the lead, the visiting team came right back and restored a four-point edge at halftime, 42-38.
The X-Women used a balanced attack with nine players recording at least two points. McCarron and Kim Kingsbury led the way with nine apiece, while Rigby led all scorers with 12 at the half.
UPEI came out of the break strong and used an 8-2 run to retake the lead, but StFX countered with a 16-7 run, seizing command 60-53. With just five-tenths of second remaining, Rigby threw up a long-distance prayer and it was answered as the Panthers trimmed the deficit to 60-56 with a quarter remaining.
Disappointed with the way his team defended through three quarters (allowing StFX to shoot 43.9% from the field), Panthers head coach Greg Gould elected to play zone defence to disrupt their opponent's rhythm and it worked. StFX shot just 20% from the field and put up just eight points in the frame.
Rigby alone scored eight of her 22 points in the decisive quarter as the Panthers escaped with the 72-68 win.
Subway Player of the Game, Carolina Del Santo, recorded a double-double in the win with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while teammates Ellsworth and Jane McLaughlin finished in double figures with 14 and 11, respectively.
McCarron finished with 15 points for the X-Women and Kingsbury, off the bench, had 11, along with six rebounds.
The Panthers return to the court Saturday evening at 6 pm. when they host the Dalhousie Tigers. The X-Women travel to UNB Saturday to face the Varsity Reds, also at 6 pm.
Courtesy Thomas Becker, UPEI Sports Information