TWolves rally late to hand National #1 Cougars first loss

 

UNBC photo
UNBC photo

A 10-0 run for the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves gave the TWolves a stunning 81-79 win over the previously-unbeaten University of Regina Cougars, Saturday night at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre.

Just one night after the Cougars handled the Timberwolves 88-53, Sergey Shchepotkin’s squad came out with greater purpose and energy in the rematch. After one quarter, the Cougars led by just four, 18-14.
An early second quarter run extended the visitors’ advantage to 26-14, but that’s when the TWolves picked up their game defensively. The teams traded baskets the rest of the half, and went to the change rooms with Regina leading 46-35.
The third quarter was all Timberwolves, as Maria Mongomo began dictating play. She registered 12 points, and UNBC’s defense allowed just seven points as came all the way back to take a 57-53 lead into final stanza.

“She is very important to us,” said TWolves coach Sergey Shchepotkin. “She showed great leadership, and when she does that, she is a great player.”

“We have struggled with the third quarter over the past few weeks,” said Cougars coach Dave Taylor postgame. “We have been outscored in the third quarter the last three weeks, and tonight it caught up to us.”

While it was close most of the fourth, the Cougars showed their pedigree by stretching their advantage to eight points with less than two minutes remaining. However, the Timberwolves refused to die, and chipped away at the lead.

With just 50 seconds remaining, Mongomo hit from long-range to give the TWolves the 80-79 lead; and advantage they wouldn’t relinquish until the final buzzer.

“This is what I warned my team about all week,” said Taylor. “They are a tough team at home, and we knew if we were in a close game with them, they could win it. They wanted it more down the stretch.”

Mongomo would finish with 33 points and 10 rebounds, while Vasiliki Louka added 18 points and 14 rebounds.

Kyanna Giles led the Cougars with 19 points and seven rebounds.

The loss was Regina’s first of the season, dropping the Cougars to 5-1, while the Timberwolves improve to 3-5.

“I’m so proud of the girls,” said Shchepotkin. “They played for each other. They played as a team. They played with energy. We can play with any team.”

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