In the first game of a double header, the UTM Eagles women’s tri-campus team defeated St. George Blue by 45–40 on Tuesday night in a closely contested game. Earlier, the Eagles had lost their home opener to St. George Black by 59–36 and were looking for some redemption in this game.
The Eagles didn’t get off to the best of starts. After two early turnovers and missed shots, the Eagles found themselves down 2–11, forcing head coach Jack Krist to call a timeout. When the game resumed, the Eagles’ defence turned up the intensity. Both teams played a strong defence in the first half.
UTM centre Steffany Bakelaar played well on defence, with excellent rebounding and good interior presence under the basket. Both teams struggled on offence in the first half, choosing to take outside shots that weren’t falling and missing easy layups at the rim. This led to a half-time score of 19–18.
In the second half, the Eagles picked up their offence. They started playing zone defence and saw more activity on offence from forward Na’vi Sohal and from Bakelaar, leading to easy lay-ins on the other end of the floor.
St. George Blue did not let the Eagles pull away, though, but kept responding to every shot the Eagles made. With a close score of 40–38 and 1:30 left the game, UTM point guard Essence Penaloza knocked in a three-pointer from the top of the three-point line that effectively killed any hope St. George had.
“We got off to a shaky start with turnovers in the first half that didn’t allow us get in full flow,” said Krist after the game. “But once we got settled, we started playing well and were patient on offence.”
“We had a rough start, but I felt like we earned the win,” commented Penaloza, whose score of 16 points was the highest on her team. “Even with a short bench, we motivated each other to fight through the game.”
“We played really well considering we had seven players on the team, and everyone did what they had to do for us to get the win,” said Sohal, whose 10 points and work on defence contributed to the win.
The Eagles’ defence was exceptional this game, but when shots aren’t falling, a team needs to run plays that get players open. The Eagles will need to play a more effective offence in the future.