The Memorial women’s basketball team played the visiting St. FX X-Women hard, and came away with a victory in their final meeting after two close contests. The X-Women edged the Sea-Hawks 74-71 before falling in the finale 63-68 in a pair of Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference match-ups.
Leading Memorial scorer Sydney Stewart and conference leading scorer Lindsay Lessard went shot for shot for much of Friday’s game. Though Stewart was just 9-21 from the field, she showed her quality yet again. Stewart’s eagerness to shoot was in part due to a lack of support from her fellow starters—though Stewart’s 24 points were complemented well by Carolyn Adams’ 13 points on 4-6 shooting, no other Sea-Hawks starter made double figures. Lindsay Taylor’s 7 points and 10 rebounds were highly tempered by a woeful 1-10 shooting performance (1-8 from deep). Similarly, Brooklynn Wright shot 0-6 from the field (0-5 from three point range). To offset the struggles of the starting five, Chante Clarke was impressive off the bench for the Sea-Hawks, hitting all six of her field goal attempts for 15 points. Lessard, meanwhile, posted a game high 27 with ten rebounds, the star turn in a balanced scoring unit for the opposition which included a double-double from Kolbi Roper. Despite a meagre four points from their bench St. FX were able to hold on for the narrow victory.
On Saturday, the Lady-Hawks put their previous struggles behind them, and found their balance. Four of five starters hit double figures in scoring, behind Stewart’s 14 points and 11 boards. Though the Sea-Hawks were not perfect, St. FX were worse, failing to generate any impact from the bench as Lessard again logged 40 minutes of game time for the second game in a row. A containment defensive scheme limited Lessard’s effectiveness to a modest 15 points and 11 boards, while Roper was again strong, with 15 and 13 respectively. In the end, the Sea-Hawks did just enough to see out the victory
An unlikely playoff berth was still possible for either side entering the final weekend, though both would finish with identical 4-16 records. In the end, however, it was the Dalhousie Tigers (6-14) who claimed the final post-season berth, despite ending the season on a five game losing skid. St. Mary’s are a heavy favourite to be crowned AUS champions for the fourth consecutive year. The Huskies (19-1) finished the season on a 14 game win-streak and are ranked third in the nation heading in to the weekend’s fixtures.
It was never going to be easy for coach Mark English, who inherited a
much-changed team from the perennial playoff presence of years past. Still with room to grow, a number of improvements and surprise performances by the team have captured the attention of fans across the AUS, boding well for the start of next season. With a young, hungry roster seeking to prove itself, building on this season’s successes and learning from its mistakes should be a task Stewart and co. are eager to tackle.