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Promising Tigers fall 79-57 to X-Women

Photo courtesy of Kate Collings
Photo courtesy of Kate Collings

By: Jack Longo

The St. Francis Xavier X-Women Women's Basketball team defeated the Dalhousie Tigers at Dalplex on Friday night in a four-point game. The X-Women earned their first victory of the season, while the Tigers were also winless entering the game and therefore continued their losing streak to begin the season. This was the first four-point game of the season for the Tigers, and the third for the X-Women.

You couldn't have written a more evenly-played contest to begin this game. Through the first eight minutes of the first quarter, the two teams weren't separated by more than two in any offensive or defensive statistical category. The score was also all square at 13-13.

The Tigers used an occasional zone defence to throw off the X-Women's offence, whereas the visitors relied on more high ball pressure to harass their opponents in the back court and at the point of attack.

The first quarter may not have ended quite as tightly-contested as it started, but the X-Women still only held a 19-17 lead to end the quarter.

StFX opened up the second quarter on a 7-0 run, not allowing the Tigers to get any easy shots and generally making things difficult for the home side. The Tigers finally got on the board halfway through the quarter thanks to a driving layup by Mercy Olugu (Halifax, NS). 

The X-Women rode their excellent defence throughout the second quarter, and paired it with some timely buckets to lead by 11 points with two minutes to go.

However, the Tigers swiftly ramped up their intensity to match the X-Women and were rewarded with a 8-0 run to end the quarter. What looked to be a significant halftime lead for StFX was suddenly just 31-28 for the visitors at the break.

St. Francis Xavier's Aliyah Fraser (New Glasgow, NS) led all scorers at halftime with 10 points. Leading the way for Dalhousie was Kelsey Crocker (St.John's, NL) with nine points.

The X-Women again came out the stronger team to start a quarter in the first action of the second half. StFX went on a 11-2 run over the first three and a half minutes of the third quarter, forcing Dalhousie to conjure up another comeback.

The Tigers continued to apply different defensive schemes, including a full-court press and a well-coordinated scrambling/switching half-court defence, in an attempt to throw off their opponents. Both of which created problems for StFX, but weren't enough to bring the Tigers back into the game as their shots on the other end weren't falling.

A fast break three-pointer from Katie Upham (North River, NS) with 13 seconds left looked like a potential dagger from the visitors as they led 57-41 at the end of the third quarter.

And so it proved in the fourth quarter. Despite the spirited fight from the Tigers, throughout the game the X-Women were able to find better shots (50% shooting percentage to Dalhousie's 30%) thanks to their superior off-ball cutting and ball movement (18 assists to Dalhousie's seven).

The game would ultimately end 79-57 in favour of the visitors.

St. Francis Xavier's Katie Upham almost had a triple double to lead the way for the visitors. Upham finished with nine points, eight rebounds and 11 assists.

Mercy Olugu had 11 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Tigers.

Both teams are back in action tomorrow, although not against each other.

Dalhousie lines up against the University of Prince Edward Island in a four-point game at Dalplex with a 6pm tipoff.

St. Francis Xavier hosts the UNB REDS in a four-point game with tipoff also coming at 6pm.