Hometown fans were out in droves to support the sixth-seeded UPEI Panthers as they took on third-seeded Cape Breton Capers on Friday, March 7 in Subway AUS Women's Basketball Championship action.
Early in the contest, the Panthers took over the lead and never looked back. Leading 15-11 after one quarter, thanks in part to Danielle MacDonald's ability to attack the basket, UPEI continued to roll into the second frame. Fourth-year guards Amy Gough and Danielle MacDonald converted on back-to-back and ones, extending the lead to double digits early in the second quarter. The Capers' tough-nosed defence allowed them to chip away and cut the lead to seven, going into halftime with UPEI ahead 34-27.
UPEI continued to feed off the energy of their hometown fans, controlling the majority of the third quarter, stretching the margin to 16 points with under three minutes left to go. The Capers refused to back down, continuing to use their physical style of play to chip away at the Pathers lead, reducing the deficit to 10 going into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Capers were unable to stop UPEI from getting to the rim and saw themselves trailing by 15 early. The Panthers were able to keep AUS rookie of the year, Alison Keough, contained on the offensive end, despite her pulling down 15 rebounds in the game.
The Capers came within nine points but couldn't get any closer as UPEI pulled off the upset, winning 67-56.
Subway Player of the Game for the Panthers was Amy Gough. Gough finished with a double-double, scoring a game-high 26 points while shooting 15-17 from the charity stripe and hauling down 10 rebounds. Colleen Keane was named player of the game for Cape Breton, scoring 14 points and collecting seven rebounds in the loss.
UPEI's shot percentage was 48, scoring 65 per cent of their points inside the key, while Cape Breton struggled from the field shooting at 27 per cent.
Top performers for UPEI were Amy Gough, with 10 points and seven boards, and Danielle MacDonald who lead the team with 12 points. Keisha Lespoir and Alison Keough led the Capers with seven and four points respectively.
UPEI will now face the St. Francis Xavier X-Women in Saturday's second semifinal matchup at 8 pm at UPEI's Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre. Visit the championship website for ticket details or watch the game live on AUStv.ca or Eastlink television.
Source: UPEI Sports Information