Jan. 12, 2018 – A new-look Kodiaks women's basketball team rode a big third quarter to a semester opening win over the Red Deer College Queens on Friday night.
Amy Arbon led the way with 12 points and Courtney Kwasney added 11 as Lethbridge overpowered the Queens in 69-45 win.
Held to just 29 points in the first half, the Kodiaks exploded for 23 in the third to take over the game. Kwasney had six of her 11 points in the frame, on her way to being named the Kodiaks player of the game.
Capitalizing on turnovers became a theme throughout the game.
Both teams committed over 20 turnovers but it was Lethbridge who took advantage, with the Kodiaks scoring 28 points off Red Deer turnovers. Red Deer was able to convert just nine points off Lethbridge turnovers.
Lethbridge's defence was strong all night, as they kept Red Deer to outside shots. The Queens made it to the free throw line just three times all game.
The message at half
After an extended holiday break, Kodiaks head coach Deanna Dotts saw a bit of hesitancy from her team in the opening half.
Her message to the girls at halftime? Just go play.
"It's our first game back after six weeks without competitive basketball, and we seemed a little hesitant in the first half," said Dotts. "I told them to just forget it and go after it. You're here because you know how to play basketball, so go play basketball. I think we saw the fruits of them just going and playing in the second half."
A new lineup
The win made for a successful debut for five new additions to the Kodiaks lineup.
Making their 2018 debuts were freshmen Emily Bishop (General Studies, Raymond), Matlin McMurray (General Studies, Cardston), Melissa Olsen (Massage Therapy, Cardston) and Tana Stewart (General Studies, Magrath) along with Brooke Heggie (General Studies, Raymond), who played one season with the Kodiaks back in 2012-13.
Aside from Heggie, the new additions were all playing in their collegiate basketball debuts.
"We're still trying to see how the new additions fit in, what their game style is and how it fits with our game style," said Dotts.
"I think they did really well tonight. The only one with collegiate experience was Brooke. The other ones may have struggled a bit early because they were nervous and didn't know what to expect, but as they got in they got the flow of the game they fared extremely well. We'll continue to build on this and improve."
McMurray became an instant threat from beyond the arc, going 3-6 from three-point distance.
Heggie dropped in seven points, while Olsen also put in a three-pointer in her debut.
The Kodiaks improve to 4-4 with the win while the Queens drop to 2-6.
Ready for the rematch
The teams will hit the Val Matteotti Gym floor again Saturday afternoon to conclude their season series. It will be a rare matinee tip-off, with the game slated to start at 1 p.m.
Dotts expects an even closer game in the rematch.
"The interesting thing about these doubleheaders against the same team is that the game starts again at one o'clock and it's just a continuation of tonight's game," said Dotts.
"They know us a little better, we know them a little better. Tomorrow's going to be an even closer matchup."
Players of the Game:
Queens - #13 Maya Parker
Kodiaks - #14 Courtney Kwasney