Source: Corey LeBlanc, CBU Athletics
Sydney, N.S. – Led by a monster effort from freshman forward Kiyara Letlow (Toronto, ON), the Cape Breton University (CBU) Capers (1-0) opened the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women's basketball regular season with a 77-70 win over the Dalhousie Tigers (0-1) on Friday evening at Sullivan Field House.
Letlow, the Subway player of the game, scored a double-double – finishing with 30 points and 19 rebounds.
"It feels really good," she said after the game, when asked about her team opening the campaign with a victory.
In a high-scoring, back-and-forth first quarter, the Capers jumped to an 8-0 edge, one keyed by a pair of defensive rebounds and coast-to-coast layup by sophomore forward Hailey MacLeod (Marion Bridge, N.S.), while Letlow provided four points on the interior.
The Tigers answered with six consecutive points, led by the inside effort of Chloe Wilson (Dartmouth, N.S.) to narrow the early deficit to 8-6.
After a deep three-pointer from fourth-year guard MacKenzee Ryan (Glace Bay, N.S.), the home side led 13-8.
With another three-point play from Ryan – this one of the hoop-and-harm variety – the Capers extended their advantage to 20-12.
At the end of the first quarter, the Capers led 24-20.
Early in the second quarter, the scoring slowed – with both teams committing a handful of turnovers.
After Wilson was fouled muscling in a layup to knot the contest at 29-29, she could not convert the free-throw to give the Tigers their first edge of the game.
That came a few minutes later, when Maia Timmons (Hantsport, N.S.) sliced through the Caper defense for a lefty layup to give Dalhousie a 35-33 lead.
CBU ended the second quarter on a 10-2 spurt – sparked by four straight points from Letlow and a Ryan layup off the glass in the closing seconds – to take a 43-37 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Another strong layup in the paint from Wilson capped an 18-6 run in the first four minutes that gave Dalhousie a 55-49 edge.
The Capers jumped back to a 57-55 lead, ignited by a pair of dynamic finishes by Letlow off drives to the basket.
Ryan topped off a 11-2 spurt to give the Capers a 60-57 lead, while seconds later Katie Crombeen (Calgary, AB) deadlocked the contest at 60-60.
The teams were tied 62-62 after three quarters.
In the first couple minutes of the fourth quarter, the Capers meshed their first points – giving them a 64-63 edge – on two free throws from Letlow, who was fouled on a put-back attempt, after collecting a MacLeod miss, whose shot cupped out after making a dynamic spin move on her defender. On that play, Wilson collected of the Tigers collected her fourth foul and had to head to the bench.
The proverbial lid was on the basket for both teams in the opening four minutes of the final stanza, with the Capers and Tigers scoring only two and one points, respectively.
In the final minutes of the low-scoring fourth quarter, a pair of Capers scored huge baskets, including one from Catherine Lallemant-Capocci (Montreal, QC), who netted a deep two-pointer to make it 70-66, while Hannah Smith (Bedford, N.S.) gave CBU a late 73-66 edge, and they never looked back.
Along with Letlow, Ryan finished in double figures for the Capers with 20, while MacLeod added nine points, six rebounds and six assists.
For the Tigers, Hebert and Brinly Holt (Halifax, N.S.) meshed 21 and 17 points, respectively, while Wilson collected nine points and four rebounds.
"I tried to play strong and hard on both ends," Letlow said of her performance, noting her focus on rebounding – at both the defensive and offensive ends.
The teams will be back on the court Saturday night on the CBU campus.
Game time is 6 p.m.
"We have to get ready for tomorrow – we have a lot to work on, especially on the defensive end," Letlow said.