With their backs against the wall, two of the least-experienced players on UNBC Women’s Basketball stepped up. Freshman Amrit Manak and second-year Adaiah Tupas-Singh came off the bench and made some massive shots for the Timberwolves, pushing them to a 72-56 win over the Mount Royal University Cougars on Saturday, January 28 in Calgary.
After yesterday’s shooting woes, the Timberwolves came out much more assertive on the offensive end, starting the game on an 8-2 run on buckets from Alina Shakirova, Sveta Boykova, Olivia Wilson, and Rebecca Landry. Sergey Shchepotkin’s team continued to fire away, and a triple from Adaiah Tupas-Singh stretched their advantage to 11 points.
The Cougars would settle down at both ends, going on their own 7-0 run after a Robyn Fleckenstein timeout. The teams would trade buckets much of the rest of the quarter, and UNBC held a 19-14 lead after 10 minutes.
In the second quarter, MRU guard Jamie Lalor was effective, making three midrange jumpers in the early going to make it a one-point game. Amrit Manak replied with a trey for UNBC, who held a four-point lead at the midway mark of the frame. A Kiara Ker layup gave the Cougars the 32-28 lead heading into the break.
Through 20 minutes, UNBC was shooting just 2-for-13 from beyond the arc, a continuation of their long-range struggles a night prior, when they shot 4-for-31. Shakirova led the way with 10 points, along with three rebounds and two assists. Tanis Metcalfe paced MRU with eight points and four rebounds.
A Maddison Hooper three stretched the Mount Royal advantage to 39-31 two minutes into the second half, putting the Timberwolves in another spot where they’d need to claw back into things. A pair of Amrit Manak triples cut into the lead, before an Adaiah Tupas-Singh trey gave UNBC a one-point lead with 2:30 to go. After a Cougars bucket at the other end, Manak would make her third three of the quarter, and the Timberwolves led 51-47 at the buzzer.
A Tupas-Singh jumper and Boykova three gave UNBC its biggest lead of the game, a 58-47 margin that forced Fleckenstein to call a timeout to slow the Timberwolves momentum. A Kiara Ker cut the deficit to seven points, as the court quickly seemed to tip in favour of the Cougars. A lid seemed to form over the hoop as, suddenly, nothing was dropping for the Timberwolves on the offensive end.
However, back to back possessions resulted in points for UNBC as Shakirova and Wilson made tough buckets in the paint, and the TWolves clung to a single-digit lead. But with the Cougars in foul trouble, UNBC was able to hold off the MRU comeback attempt from there, sealing it with some good ball movement and made free throws, earning a 72-56 victory.
The TWolves won the fourth quarter 21-9, and the second half by a 44-24 margin. Shakirova had 20 points to lead all scorers, adding three rebounds and three assists. Manak was massive off the bench with 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting from long range. Tupas-Singh had a career high 10 points, while Boykova added 10 points, 12 boards, and five assists.
With the victory, UNBC improves to 6-10, and returns home for this season’s final home games against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at the Northern Sport Centre.
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