Ballhorn and Queens battle in Lethbridge

Katie Ballhorn (4) had a strong game in Lethbridge. Picture - Colby Brochy Photography
Katie Ballhorn (4) had a strong game in Lethbridge. Picture - Colby Brochy Photography

Brent Forster - RDC, with information from Lethbridge College Athletics

Lethbridge, AB – For the second straight week, the Lethbridge College Kodiaks Women's Basketball team got off to a slow start but an 11 point margin in the second quarter eventually helped them earn a 77-68 win over the visiting Red Deer College Queens. Kodiaks' Jocelyn Neilson had a double-double, scoring 22 points off the bench and collecting 11 rebounds on Saturday.

Nielson collected the majority of her points in tough areas in the paint, using great body positioning to help steady the Kodiaks offence. Juhee Anderson also continued her strong play for Lethbridge, scoring 19 points of her own. Matlin McMurray added seven assists for the hosts.

Red Deer came ready to play and the Kodiaks had trouble matching the Queens intensity early. The RDC Queens built a quick 15-9 lead, playing high tempo defence that forced the Kodiaks into six turnovers within the first nine minutes. As they did in their previous outing against Briercrest, Lethbridge awoke at the end of the first quarter. A strong finish from Anderson and Nielson helped the Kodiaks end the frame on a 12-7 run, closing the deficit to 22-21.

Lethbridge started the second quarter on a 10-5 run, with their offence creating seams that allowed them to drive right to the Queens net. The Kodiaks ended up outscoring the Queens 21-10 in the quarter to take a 42-32 lead into half.

The teams traded runs throughout the second half, but Lethbridge was able to keep Red Deer shooters at bay and prevent any big runs. A low scoring fourth quarter played into the Kodiaks advantage, as they held Red Deer to fourteen points, securing the 77-68 win.

Sandra Garcia-Bernal led Red Deer's offence with 16 points, while Katie Ballhorn and Harneet Sidhu each added 14. 

Nielson was named the Kodiaks Player-of-the-Game, while Ballhorn earned the honours for Red Deer with a 14 point, four rebound performance.

Ken King, Queens Head Coach, didn't see a consistent performance in their own zone. "We didn't do a good enough job of playing consistent defence and containing their ball carriers," he says. "We talked about their ability to get to the rim and score by driving and rebounding on offence, but we had too many lapses in containing those things."

Several efforts stood out for the coach. "Sandra Garcia-Bernal and Harneet Sidhu were solid again on both ends of the floor, and Zeina had her best game in the Queens' uniform so far," says King.

Along with Garci-Bernal's 16 points, the second-year guard from Spain added 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 1 block. Sidhu contributed 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals with her 14 points. 

Zeina El Barky accumulated 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block and went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line. 

In non-conference action, the RDC Queens will next compete in the North-South Tournament at NAIT, with their first game taking place on Friday, December 28 against the Lakeland College Rustlers at 2:00 p.m.

The next conference game for the Queens will be on Friday, January 4 at 6:00 p.m. against the St. Mary's University Lightning at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.