Queens push nationally ranked Clippers

Mallory Uskiw (7) provided the Queens a spark
Mallory Uskiw (7) provided the Queens a spark

Brent Forster - RDC

Red Deer, AB – The Red Deer College Queens gave the top ten nationally ranked Briercrest College Clippers a test. The Queens closed a 13 point deficit in the fourth quarter, but they couldn't overtake the visitors after 40 minutes. A solid performance from Briercrest College's Angenay Williams helped the visitors finalize a 76-72 decision. 

"I was really proud of the way we battled," says Mandy Botham, Queens Head Coach. "It would have been nice to see it go to overtime, but it didn't work out."

Amy Szymanek (6) had six points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal

Not much separated the two squads in the opening quarter. A three-pointer from second-year Sophie Melin pushed the home team ahead 18-16 at the buzzer.

The Clippers had a strong second quarter, connecting from the outside and outscoring the Queens 26-18. With 17 points from Williams, Briercrest College held a six point edge at half (42-36).

RDC Bachelor of Kinesiology student Lauren Cardinal contributed five rebounds and eight points, which included a flawless shooting percentage from the free-throw line and field.

Over two quarters, the visitors hit seven out of 17 from the beyond the arc (41.2%). RDC responded with two-of-ten (20%).

Both teams had 12 turnovers in the first half and Botham felt the errors were costly.

"I think our turnovers and mistakes in the first half cost us the game," she says.

In the third, Briercrest College hit another pair from long range and recorded a total of 21 points. RDC sank 14 and trailed 63-50.

The Queens gained some momentum in the final quarter, knocking down 22 points. They evened the contest 69-69 off a free-throw from Harneet Sidhu, but Williams hit some late shots and helped the Clippers pick up a 76-72 win. 

Harneet Sidhu (14)

Botham was proud of the effort and the relentless attitude, which has been developed in all areas of the Queens' preparation.

"I was really impressed, when it counted most we had so many hustle plays with bodies flying and girls hitting the floor. Everyone on our bench was engaged and I can't ask for much more as a coach," she says.

"Through their workouts and practices, there's been a lot of focus on toughness and not giving up. They've all really bought in and they push each other, which is nice."

The Clippers finished nine-of-28 from three (32.1%). The Queens sank five out of 25 (20%).

Harneet Sidhu led the Queens with 21 points. Lauren Cardinal finished with nine rebounds and 17 points, and was near perfect on her shot attempts. The third-year from St. Albert made all seven free-throws and went five-for-six from the field. Both Sophie Melin and Harneet Sidhu had a pair of three-pointers. Sandra Garcia-Bernal led RDC with 10 boards.

The home team held the rebounding edge (52-46).

Mallory Uskiw earned the Collegiate Sports Medicine Queens Player-of-the-Game. The Bachelor of Science Nursing student contributed six points, six rebounds and three steals in a hard-working effort.

"I liked everything about Mallory's game. She was taking her opportunities offensively, which was nice to see," says Botham. "I thought she did a phenomenal job on number 23, defending her. That big play at the end of the fourth when she dove for that ball was exceptional. That's what we've been focusing on."

Sydney Seagroves was recognized for the Clippers, totaling 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. 

Williams had a game-high 36 points. She sits second in league scoring (26.8 points per game), averaging only a couple of points behind 2018-19 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Women's Basketball Player of the Year Brittney Thibeaux (29.1) of Olds College. 

The RDC Queens (4-3) will host the Briercrest College Clippers (4-2) on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.