DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen are getting better at learning how to win without their on-court leader.
The Wesmen women's basketball team held the MacEwan Griffins to eight points in the first quarter and never trailed Friday, running away with an 83-68 Canada West conference victory at the Duckworth Centre.
The Wesmen led by as many as 25 in improving to 7-4 on the season, with all but two of those games coming without fifth-year senior Faith Hezekiah. The Wesmen improved to 5-4 in games without Hezekiah, the team's leading scorer and rebounder who has been cast to the sidelines after an injury a week into the season.
Freshman guard Anna Kernaghan led five players in double digits with 18 points while adding four assists and four steals. Kernaghan had five turnovers before halftime, but none the rest of the way.
"That's going to be us the rest of the year," Wesmen head coach Tanya McKay said. "It's going to be total team effort. One kid could score 20 one night and maybe have two the next night, but they might have 10 deflections and 10 boards. If we can get our kids to contribute in different ways every game, I'll take it."
Lena Wenke, who averaged 16.7 points per game in her last three contests, put up 16, four rebounds, four assists, and a career-high seven steals. Robyn Boulanger had 13 points, Jessica Dyck 12 — with seven rebounds — and Deborah Nkiasi added 11 points.
The Wesmen shot 52.7 per cent from the field and 58.3 (7-for-12) from three — both season-highs — in beating the Griffins for the sixth time in seven career contests. The Wesmen field-goal percentage was their best since shooting 53.6 per cent in a win at Victoria, Feb. 10, 2017 and their three-point percentage was their best, on a minimum of 10 shots, since shooting 72.2 (13-for-18) per cent in a loss at UBC, Nov. 22, 2014.
The Griffins (2-9) got 15 points from Mackenzie Farmer and 11 from Rachel Hare, but shot 38.2 per cent from the field and 9-for-28 from three. They committed 30 turnovers, but forced the Wesmen into 31.
"I think the first quarter we got a little behind, we couldn't score and their defensive pressure took us out of rhythm a little bit," Griffins head coach Katherine Adams said. "For sure, the second quarter we found a rhythm a little bit, was able to get on the scoreboard but we just couldn't get stops defensively and put us in a position where we were down 14 going into halftime."
The two teams meet again Saturday at 7 p.m. CT.