Jan. 7, 2019 - Despite a pair of losses over the weekend, the Lethbridge College Kodiaks women's basketball team proved they can more than compete with one of the ACAC's elite teams.
The Kodiaks dropped a pair of close games against rival Medicine Hat College in a home-and-home series last weekend, including a double OT heartbreaker on Saturday in the SnakePit.
Even though Medicine Hat entered 2019 ranked fourth in the country, the Kodiaks fought tooth and nail all weekend against their southern Alberta rivals.
On Friday night, the host Kodiaks jumped out to an early lead and entered the fourth quarter tied, before MHC went on a 27-14 run to take the game by a final of 70-58.
Saturday's rematch was an instant classic, with the Kodiaks overcoming a five point deficit in overtime to force a second extra period. The team just couldn't get over the hump in the second overtime, finally falling to the Rattlers 93-85.
Friday, Jan. 4: Kodiaks 58, Rattlers 70
Looking for revenge after a blowout loss to the Rattlers earlier in the season, the Kodiaks took the visitors by surprise in building an early first quarter lead. Showing no holiday rust, Juhee Anderson scored five of her ten points in the first quarter while the team shot 63% on a whole.
The Rattlers came back stronger in the second, tying the game heading into half on the strength of six points from Kiana Mintz off the bench.
The teams traded buckets in the third, with Lethbridge taking a narrow single point lead into the fourth. That's when Medicine Hat finally turned on their game. MHC collected four steals in the fourth and got to the line eight times, outscoring the Kodiaks 27-14 in the quarter to take the win.
Medicine Hat received 37 points off the bench and got to the line 21 times, while Lethbridge went to the stripe just 12 times.
Lethbridge's Jocelyn Nielson led the team with 11 points off the bench, while Anderson and Madi Gladstone each had 10 points. Kirsten Barwegen had two steals in the defeat.
Saturday, Jan. 5: Kodiaks 85, Rattlers 93 (2OT)
Determined to bounce back from the previous evening's defeat, the Kodiaks nearly pulled off an upset in their lone visit to Medicine Hat's SnakePit, falling in heartbreaking 2OT fashion.
The game featured six lead changes, with Lethbridge roaring back from a late seven point deficit to tie the game and force overtime.
The Rattlers used the three ball to build a five-point lead midway through the first OT, but once again the Kodiaks bore down on defence and battled back to tie the game. With the score tied at 76 and just ten seconds remaining in OT, the Kodiaks got a huge defensive stop to force a second OT frame.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the Rattlers went 3-4 from 3PT distance in the second extra period to pull away for the victory.
Madi Gladstone led the Kodiaks on both sides of the ball, draining 20 points of her own while limiting MHC star Kendell Kuntz to just 11 points.
Juhee Anderson added 16 points while Matlin McMurray dropped in 14.
The Kodiaks (6-4) continue their busiest stretch of the season, taking on St. Mary's in another home-and-home next weekend. Lethbridge will travel to Calgary for Friday's game before returning home to host the Lightning at Val Matteotti Gym on Saturday. Game time is set for 6 p.m. both nights and can be live streamed on ACACTV.ca.
Medicine Hat (10-1) strengthened their lead atop the ACAC south division and will host Olds College and Ambrose next weekend.