HALIFAX, N.S. (from Dalhousie Tigers) – In their second four-point game of the weekend, the Dalhousie Tigers hosted the UNB Varsity Reds at the Dalplex. After getting down early in the first quarter, the Tigers put together an incredible defensive fourth quarter to spark the 59-57 comeback victory.
It was a tough offensive start for the Tigers in the first, having trouble taking the lid off the basket. UNB played tight perimeter defence that forced the Tigers into tough shots throughout the frame.
The defensive pressure turned into transition offence for the Varsity Reds, Krystal Osburn (Ottawa, Ont.) doing work on the glass and feeding the ball ahead to Laura Kaye (Fredericton, N.B.) for fast break points.
The Tigers could only muster eight points in the quarter and headed into the second trailing 16-8.
The Tigers came out in the second looking like a much-improved team, thanks in large part to the contributions of Michele Tchiakoua (Yaounde, Cameroon) who turned defence into offence and put up six points early in the quarter.
The early run brought the game within four, but the Varsity Reds responded with a run of their own with three minutes left in the half which was sparked by the shooting of Mikaela Dodig (Bolton, Ont.).
The Tigers refused to go into the half with the game out of reach, however, picking up threes on back-to-back possessions from Diedre Alexander (Woodstock, N.B.) and Sophie Gaube (Hubley, N.S.) to bring the Tigers within six.
Heading into the break, the Varsity Reds were up 29-23.
The second half started fast and furious with both sides trading baskets at a high percentage. The Tigers started off the quarter with a deep shot from Tchiakoua, but UNB countered with a back-to-back of their own from Nicole Esson (Fredericton, N.B.).
Alexander seemed to put it on herself to keep the Tigers in the game by getting to the rim to finish through contact, as well as knocking down outside shots.
On the other end, Esson was doing the same for the Varsity Reds, putting up 13 of the team’s 26 points in the quarter, with nine of them coming from long range.
Heading into the fourth quarter, UNB still held the edge at 55-44.
The Tigers put together an impressive string of defensive stops in the fourth, shutting out the Varsity Reds through the first six minutes of the quarter. This allowed the Tigers to slowly chip away at the deficit.
Sparked by rebounding on both ends, the Tigers were able to bring the game within one point on a three-point play from Tchiakoua while still keeping the Varsity Reds scoreless in the quarter with a little over two minutes to go.
After another defensive stop, Tchiakoua drove the lane and gave the Tigers their first lead of the game with two minutes left.
It took nine minutes in the quarter for UNB to find their first basket coming on an offensive rebound for Osburn to bring the Varsity Reds within two.
After a Tigers miss, the Varsity Reds had the last possession to tie the game up or take the lead, but the layup was no good, and the Tigers completed the comeback win with a 59-57 final.
Tchiakoua earned the Player of the Game nod in this one, finishing with a game-high 18 points and three rebounds as she took over on both ends of the floor for the Tigers.
The Tigers are back on the court on Tuesday when they travel to StFX, while the Varsity Reds will take on Saint Mary’s in back to back games at home next weekend.