Varsity Reds clinch playoff bye with victory over X-Women

Photo courtesy Paul Hurford
Photo courtesy Paul Hurford

Antigonish, NS – The UNB Varsity Reds (15-5) wrapped up AUS regular season play with a 71-32 victory over the StFX X-Women (1-18). With the win the Varsity Reds clinch at least second place in the conference standings and secure themselves a first round bye at the Subway AUS Championship next weekend in Halifax.

Varsity Reds head coach Jeff Speedy commented, "I thought we were really focused this game, I think StFX played as good a first half against us as they have all season so they really made us work for it. I think our depth in the second half took over I was really pleased with that."

"I've had some really bad luck in this gym so it was nice to meet our goal set earlier in the season which was to get the playoff bye."

The Varsity Reds were led by fourth year guard Laura Kaye (Fredericton, NB) who scored a game-high 22 points, earning Subway player of the game honors. She added four rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.

UNB held a 16-12 lead over the X-Women after the first quarter and were up 28-17 at the half after a low-scoring second quarter.

The Varsity Reds held the X-Women to only five points in each of the second and fourth quarters as their scoring struggles continued.

StFX head coach Augy Jones commented, "I think consistently we are playing ok defense, but we're not scoring and we're turning the ball over too much. Our focus today was to try to turn the ball over less than 30 times and score some points but that didn't happen."

"We'll try to stay positive heading into our final game tomorrow night," he continued.

The X-Women had 33 turnovers in the game to the Varsity Reds 16, and struggled with a 25.0% field goal percentage.

UNB opened up their lead with a deep bench in the second half, outscoring the home squad 43-15.

Eva Tumwine (Fredericton, NB) scored 10 points off the bench for the Varsity Reds and had five rebounds while Grace Wade (Moncton, NB) added eight points.

Korenda Colley (Dartmouth, NS) scored seven points for the X-Women before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. StFX player of the game Kendra Smith (North Preston, NS) scored eight.

The X-Women will play their final AUS regular season game Saturday night at 6:00 pm when they host the UPEI Panthers (10-9).

The Varsity Reds switch their attention to the Subway AUS Championship next weekend in Halifax when they bypass the quarter-finals and wait for a semifinal opponent on Saturday, March 4th.

Looking ahead to the championship Coach Speedy commented "I'm glad we only have to play two games instead of three. This team has been there two years in a row, we've won a game and lost two, but we've played quite well  so I like our experience, and I like our experience playing in that building."

"I really think it's wide open, I honestly think the sixth seed could win the whole tournament. We're going to have to play two very good games to win and if we're healthy and play two good games then I think we have a good shot. I'm just excited to have the opportunity," says Speedy.

The Subway AUS Championship schedule will be announced on Monday, February 27th.