The third game of the 2018-2019 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women's Basketball Championships featured the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings (15-9) vs Medicine Hat College Rattlers (18-3).
The Rattlers were ranked No. 3 in the recent Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association polls.
Surprisingly, with a 15-9 record, the Vikings also broke into the CCAA polls at No. 14.
The Rattlers lost last year in the ACAC finals to the St. Mary's Lightning 77-66.
Despite wearing heavy knee braces on both knees, thanks to multiple injuries over the years, the Rattlers are led by guard Kendell Kuntz at 16.0 ppg while the Vikings also look to a point guard with Jessica Haenni (14.7 ppg)
Alyssa Banez a force to reckon with as the diminutive quicksilver guard beats the press and attacks the hoop for 10 points as Vikings double up the Rattlers 24-11.
Vikings crashing the boards with 12 to only 4 for the Rattlers although Medicine Hat is ranked No. 7 in conference and Augustana 9th.
Vikings continue to slice and dice down the lane while the Rattlers can't find their touch and have several uncharacteristic unforced errors.
Vikings also continue to discover ways to break the Rattlers full court press.
Rattlers hit back-to-back-to-back hoops with Kiana Mintz catching fire for Rattlers.
Halftime Vikings 41 Rattlers 25
Rattlers coach Clayton Nielsen will have lots to talk about in the locker room.
Banez leads Vikings with 13 points, Jessica Haenni adding 10 points. Kiana Mintz has 11 for Rattlers.
Vikings dominated the boards 20-10.
Second half finds No. 9 Abygail LaRochelle landing awkwardly on a layup attempt halfway through the third period, hurting her right knee. Hopefully she is OK.
Katelyn Rozdeba jumper with 4:24 remaining in third brings Medicine Hat Rattlers within striking distance down 46-41.
Vikings, with two of their better rebounders sitting Emma Vanbruinessen and Hannah Mitchell (3 fouls each) are not able to keep the Rattlers off the scoreboard and are outscored 25-12 but hold a slim 53-50 advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.
Rattlers tie it 53-53 on a Kiana Mintz free throw.
Mintz drive givers her team the lead 55-54.
Guards Banez and Haenni score back-to-back hoops with the Vikings now up 60-57 with 4:36 on clock.
Vikings Player of the Game Alysaa Banez with 20 points.
Rattlers Player of the Game with a gutsy performance Kiana Mintz with 19 points
Footnotes: Vikings coach Robyn Fleckenstein's step father Ian MacMillan was the first Canadian to coach in the National Basketball Association when he worked for the Houston Rockets in 1978-79 under coaches Tom Nissalke and Del Harris. Jay Triano was the first Canadian head coach in the NBA when he managed the Toronto Raptors