Zachary Worden, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY, Alta – The Mount Royal University Cougars and University of Calgary Dinos kicked off the new year Thursday night at Kenyon Court. The Dinos came into the game on a seven-game win streak. The streak has seen them climb to be the #8 ranked team in the country. Meanwhile, the Cougars entered the new year looking to fight their way into the Canada West playoff picture.
The Dinos came away with the 79-56 victory and extended their winning streak. Their offense came from up and down their roster. Five players scored in double-digits, including Erin McIntosh who finished the game with a team-high 16 points. Bobbi Jo Colburn chipped in 11 points while making an impact on the glass, grabbing nine rebounds. The Dinos active defense came away with 23 steals in the game. Reyna Crawford led the team with five steals, making life tough on her matchup all game long.
The Cougars were led by Maria Blanco. She scored a game-high 17 points and relentlessly attacked the rim throughout the game. Maddison Hooper was also big for MRU. She finished with a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
The Dinos came out in the first quarter and found a way to get good looks through their half-court offense. They built an early double-digit lead by turning stops on the defensive end into points the other way. After the first quarter, UofC led by 15 as they were able to keep the MRU offense from knocking down their looks.
The Cougars offense came to life in the second quarter. Both teams' offenses were clicking all quarter long. Each score seemed to be answered by a basket on the other end. After a tough shooting first quarter, MRU turned it up for the second. They made 47% of their shots and won the quarter, outscoring the Dinos by one.
At Halftime the Dinos led 45-31. Colburn and McIntosh led the way in the first 20 minutes with nine points apiece, while each grabbed three rebounds. The UofC defense forced 12 turnovers in the first half, coming away with eight steals.
The Cougars' early attack was led by Blanco and the outside shooting of Alesha Stanley. MRU also found success in the first half on the offensive glass. They grabbed eight in the half, helping them extend their possessions.
The up-tempo pace of the second quarter went away for the third. Both teams came out of the halftime break with an emphasis on locking down on the defensive end. In a much lower scoring quarter, the Dinos were able to hold off the Cougars' attempt to lessen their deficit heading into the final 10 minutes.
MRU came into the fourth quarter as the aggressors. They forced four turnovers in the first five minutes of the quarter and found a way to get out in transition and find some easier baskets. 15 was big for the Cougars on both ends in the second half. She scored nine points and came away with 3 Steals in the final quarter.
Once the final buzzer sounded the Dinos held off the Cougars after their early run and come away with their eighth straight victory.
The cross-town rivals will be back in action on Saturday night, as the Cougars will travel to Jack Simpson Gymnasium to complete the home and home series. The game tips-off at 5:00 p.m. MDT and can be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv.