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TWolves’ storybook run ends with gritty loss to Dinos

The University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves had defied the odds for weeks, but they ran out of gas against a powerful University of Calgary team, falling 87-68 to the Dinos on Thursday, February 20th in Calgary, Alberta. With the defeat, the shorthanded TWolves are eliminated from the Canada West playoffs, following a nine game winning streak despite rostering just six healthy players.

The Dinos got off to a hot start early, as Erin McIntosh powered the home team to a 5-0 lead to start the game. However the TWolves clawed back, finding ways to beat the Dinos press and getting to the hoop. Maria Mongomo and Emma vanBruinessen were key in the pushback, and UNBC actually found themselves leading 14-12 late in the first. Scoring would be tough to come by the rest of the quarter, and the Timberwolves ended the frame down 17-16.

In the second quarter, both teams dug in defensively, fighting for every inch at both ends. The Dinos got to the paint with offense from the length of Michaela Nieuwenhuizen, as the shorthanded TWolves showed their fatigue. However UNBC wouldn’t quit, as vanBruinessen and Madi Landry got some tough buckets in close to draw the TWolves closer. At the half, the Dinos clung to a 36-21 lead. Landry led the TWolves with 11 points, while Mongomo chipped in with 10. Bobbi-Jo Colburn was the Dinos high scorer with 10.

“That first half really showed the character of our team,” said UNBC’s Madison Landry. “That team is so deep, Nationally ranked. We gave such an effort, and we can’t be mad at ourselves after that.”

The Dinos came out the fresher team in the second half, opening the third quarter on a 10-0 run. McIntosh got to her spot, while Reyna Crawford buried a trey as Calgary built a 16-point advantage. The TWolves clawed back, as they have all season,  chipping away by earning trips to the line on tough drives. Calgary continued to pour on the full court pressure, but UNBC did enough to keep it close. After thirty minutes, Calgary led 60-52.

Colburn came out firing early in the fourth quarter, making a pair of three’s to extend the Dinos lead to 14. From there, try as they might, the TWolves had nothing left in the gas tank. Landry continued to work her way into the paint, but the Dinos had an answer at every turn. The five weeks of having just six players had caught up to UNBC, and Calgary took advantage. When the final buzzer sounded, the Dinos had earned a

UNBC was led offensively by Madison Landry, who followed up her 30-point effort against Lethbridge last week with a 25-point, 4-rebound, 4-steal night. Mongomo had 14 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, while vanBruinessen went for 11 points and six rebounds. Rebecca Landry added 12 points for the Timberwolves.

Colburn led the Dinos with 21 points, thanks in large part to her five three-pointers made. McIntosh added 15 points and nine rebounds.

Calgary had eleven players play at least 12 minutes, while the UNBC foursome of Landry, Mongomo, vanBruinessen, and Emily Holmes each played 38 or more.

The Dinos advance to the Canada West semifinal, while the matchup marked the final games in the UNBC careers of seniors Holmes and Mongomo.

“We really stayed together as a team. The fifth-years have really set amazing building blocks,” said Landry. “They will be missed, but they have left a legacy that will always be there.”

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