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Valley nets 14 in loss to Panthers

Photo courtesy of Janessa Hogan
Photo courtesy of Janessa Hogan

Source: Thomas Becker, UPEI Athletics 

The UPEI Panthers have their sights set on the coveted bye, and after Saturday night's 71-49 win over the Dalhousie Tigers, they are one step closer.  

The Panthers (10-5) now find themselves in a tie with the Saint Mary's Huskies for second place. They'll square off Sunday afternoon in a game that could determine who'll earn that bye.  

UPEI's Lauren Rainford led all scorers with 22 points, six steals, four assists and two blocks. Devon Lawlor was productive off the bench, scoring 15 points with eight rebounds, while Alicia Bowering finished with 12 points and three rebounds with two steals and two blocks. Dalhousie's Sarah Valley scored a team-high 14 points and was the only Tiger to finish in double figures.  

The Panthers' defence was smothering all night and was a big reason they won. They turned the Tigers over 33 times, leading to 31 points and held them to 38.8 per cent shooting. 

But it was the Tigers (1-16) who brought the defensive intensity to start. They held UPEI without a field goal for the first 3:50 before Grace Lancaster tied it at four apiece with a three-pointer. Bowering followed that up with a corner three to give the Panthers their first lead of the game, 7-6.  

After the teams traded baskets, Rainford went inside for back-to-back layups to give her team a five-point advantage.  

The Panthers' defence turned the Tigers over 10 times leading to 10 points in the opening frame, where they led 17-12.  

Both teams struggled from the field to start the second quarter, but then the Panthers went on a furious run. Rainford and Samantha Zoffranieri started the takeover with back-to-back triples to make it 28-16 with 3:29 to play in the half. That sparked the team, who closed the quarter on an 18-3 run and went into the break ahead 39-19.  

Rainford led all scorers with 13 points at the half, while Dalhousie's bench scored 16 of the team's 19 points.  

Rainford came out of the break strong and scored seven of the team's next nine points to make it 48-26. Dalhousie responded with a mini 7-2 run to trim the deficit to 17, but the Panthers responded with a 7-2 run of their own to make 56-34. After three, UPEI led big, 56-39.  

Midway through the fourth, UPEI went on a 10-0 run to make it 71-45 before coming away with the 71-49 win.  

Sarah Valley was the top scorer for the Tigers, earning 14 points of the bench, while Katie Wuotila, Lindsay Black and Mercy Olugu each chipped in seven apiece.

The Panthers look to make it a perfect 2-0 weekend when they host the Saint Mary's Huskies Sunday at 4 p.m. The Tigers also play the Huskies next, but that's not until Wednesday.