Garcia-Bernal leads the way as Queens defeat Lions by nineteen

Sandra Garcia-Bernal (23) had another great effort, earning the Queens Player-of-the-Game. Picture - Colby Brochu Photography
Sandra Garcia-Bernal (23) had another great effort, earning the Queens Player-of-the-Game. Picture - Colby Brochu Photography

Brent Forster – RDC

Red Deer, AB – After a tight close half, the Red Deer College Queens scored 48 second-half points and capitalized on a memorable double-double from Sandra Garcia-Bernal, rolling to an impressive 74-55 victory at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

After Mallory Uskiw's free-throw tied it up 9-9 in the opening quarter, Sandra Garcia-Bernal found herself at the line several times after the Lions' defence had trouble containing her. In a short span, the second-year guard from Spain picked up a trio of points. Harneet Sidhu and Paige Schultz hit three-pointers but Ambrose University kept it close. At the end of the quarter, the Lions held a one point margin (19-18).

Harneet Sidhu (14) Colby Brochu Photography

Contributions from Amy Szymanek off the glass and a free-throw from Samantha Wade kept the contest even 23-23 in the second. Then Ambrose University connected for three and pulled slightly ahead. At the half, the Lions were up by four (30-26).

The RDC Queens started the third quarter on a 7-0 run to jump ahead 33-30. RDC created momentum and eventually pulled ahead by 11 points (47-36). During that stretch, the Queens got points from Katie Ballhorn, Mallory Uskiw, Sandra Garcia-Bernal and Harneet Sidhu. At the end of the quarter, RDC was up 52-39.

Mallory Uskiw (7) Colby Brochu Photography

The RDC Queens kept their foot on the gas in the fourth quarter. Katie Ballhorn helped give the Queens a 17 point edge, with a bucket and a pair of successful free-throws. Harneet Sidhu hit a three-pointer with time winding down to wrap up a 74-55 decision.

Sandra Garcia-Bernal was selected as the Queens Player-of-the-Game, recording 14 points, 18 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists. Gabrielle Penner received the award for the Lions, accumulating 3 points, 6 rebounds and 1 steal.

Ken King, Queens Head Coach, praised the leadership from Garcia-Bernal. "Sandra doesn't stop. I would hate to play against her," says King. "Ten rebounds would be a big amount for someone who's her height and playing the point-guard position but she's pulling down 18 in a game. That shows what she is willing to lay out there on the floor. She's always sacrificing something for the team. That's why she is our leader and a person who we go with all the time."

The sound Queens' defence was a game changer. "I thought that we did a great job today of finally having that consistent defensive presence. In the second quarter, we only scored eight but we held them to 11 and that becomes a difference maker in terms of being able to stay close," says King. "You carry that defensive presence into the third quarter along with offensive adjustments and all of a sudden the third quarter goes 26-9. It makes a big difference when your defence stays steady because no matter what goes on offence, you can fall back on defence and feel good about it."

Colby Brochu Photography

Back on October 12, the Lions downed the Queens 97-78 in Calgary but the RDC Queens have shown tremendous growth this season and reversed the result at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. "It's all about getting better every single week and I think that we lost to them by 19 to open the season, so to beat them by 19 tonight is a good example of that upward trend that we've been seeing. We see it in multiple players. Katie Ballhorn was five for six from the field as a rookie, and had 15 points," says King. "Even Samantha Wade is following in Sandra's footsteps and had five rebounds in 23 minutes as a rookie. Obviously, Harneet scoring 22 – the biggest piece of growth is that she had nine turnovers in the first half. We had a good conversation at half-time and she had one in the second half. We are seeing coachability, improvement and because of that I think that you will see us trend upwards."

The RDC Queens will play the Kodiaks in Lethbridge on Saturday, November 24 at 6:00 p.m.