Skip to content

Scrappy Wolfpack pull out 62-58 defeat of Timberwolves

UNBC photo

No longer in playoff contention, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack came into the Northern Sport Centre with nothing to lose, playing with fire and upsetting the UNBC Timberwolves 62-58 on Friday.

“It’s been a process. We all knew this year would be a learning curve for ourselves and for our coaches, so it feels really good to pull this one out,” said TRU leader Kelsey Cruz. “It is really exciting. I am super excited for the program to keep pushing forward.”

The first quarter was a back-and-forth battle, as both teams traded buckets and momentum in the early going. Laura Garmendia Garcia come off the bench for UNBC and found her stroke, scoring six points in the quarter, but TRU guard Danijela Kovacevic equaled her with six of her own and the Timberwolves held a slim 17-13 lead after ten minutes.

UNBC came out firing in the second frame, with TWolves captain Alina Shakirova earning a tough and-one and stretching their lead to a dozen points. But the pesky Pack answered with a run of their own, as young forward Elana Sireni made a pair of three-pointers to cut into the deficit. At the half, UNBC clung to a small 28-24 advantage, despite going 0-for-9 from behind the arc.

“Coach warned us that they put all their effort into their defense, and then on offense, they’re really pushy and grind for everything they can get,” said Garmendia Garcia. “That, combined with us not making our shots, it drove us a little bit crazy. We didn’t trust to find our best shot like we usually do.”

The third quarter belonged to the young WolfPack, as they seized momentum from a sluggish UNBC team and built a moderate lead throughout the quarter. Makeba Taylor got a pair of tough baskets in the paint to go, Sireni made another triple, and Kovecevic continued to assert herself at the offensive end. At the other end, nothing seemed to work for Sergey Shchepotkin’s TWolves, despite veteran Sveta Boykova’s best efforts. With one quarter to go, TRU held a 46-43 lead.

“For this team, we all need to do our job. That will push us through,” said Cruz. “Today, our 100 percent was pushing the ball and trying to run UNBC. It worked out.”

The visitors kept coming in the fourth quarter, building a 56-47 lead with five minutes to go. Senior Megan Rouault was the engine, driving and kicking to open teammates for good looks, as time started to become the Timberwolves’ enemy. UNBC started to chip away, as Rebecca Landry made a long jumper and Garmendia Garcia earned another tough bucket inside, cutting the margin to five.

Eventually, the Timberwolves would run out of time and the WolfPack would earn a 62-58 victory.

UNBC went 1-for-15 from beyond the arc, shooting just 6.7 per cent from three-point territory. Shakirova paced the Timberwolves with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Boykova had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Garmendia Garcia had 16 points and 13 rebounds.

For TRU, it was Taylor leading the way with 18 points and six boards, while Kovacevic had 14 points and four assists. Sireni chipped in with 13 points and 11 boards.

The two teams clash again on Saturday night at the NSC. The game will be the final home appearance for Shakirova, Olivia Wilson, and Jenna Korolek.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *