CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. (from CBU Capers) — The Cape Breton Capers escape Prince Edward Island Panthers with a weekend split as a result of Alison Keough’s (Marion Bridge, NS) skills on the court.
The reigning MVP eclipsed Julie Galipeau (SMU Huskies Alumni) and her 13-year AUS record to become the new queen of rebounds. The forward also passed Kelsey Hodgson to become the Capers all-time leading scorer.
“It feels amazing really,” said Keough, who quickly gave credit to her team. “But the best feeling is that our team is coming together at the right time and getting some wins.”
She was unstoppable in Sunday’s (January 28) match with an 88-78 win, as she recorded a monster double-double with a game-high 34 points and 19 rebounds. As a result, Keough was also named Player of the Game.
“We knew it was tough coming in, but it was very important to come away with the split because we’re all in the middle of the standings and a bye would be great to have,” she added. “That’s what we’re pushing for, so it was a big game.”
Following a tremendous defensive display the night before, Carolina Del Santo showed off her offensive skill on the court and with the mid-range jumper for six early points, as the Panthers carried a 10-6 edge.
The Capers countered with an 8-4 run to tie things up, but Del Santo’s eight first-quarter points gave UPEI a slim 16-14 advantage. She finished with a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Cape Breton’s Toni Bianchini (Groves Point, NS) scored eight quick points in the opening minutes of the second to give them the lead. While Hannah Brown (North Sydney, NS) followed that up with another long-range jumper as they stormed ahead 28-23.
The two teams traded baskets throughout the third as the Capers took a 67-54 lead into the final 10. Keough dominant the post and by the end of the quarter, she had already recorded her double-double with 22 points and 15 rebounds.
Karla Yepez opened the fourth with back-to-back baskets, which seemed to spark the Panthers who managed to cut the deficit to six, 73-67. After Cape Breton extended their lead back to double digits, Reese Baxendale and her smothering defence led to consecutive lay-ins as the Panthers trimmed it to five. Another critical stop cut it to three, but that’s as close as they’d get as Keough iced the game with clutch free throws down the stretch to hold on for the 88-78 win.
“Our coach is always talking about weathering the storm,” Keough said. “In the fourth quarter, [the Panthers] were able to cut it to five. They were getting some steals and were just pounding back at us, but I thought we stayed composed and ultimately came out with a win.”
Brown (18) and Mackenzie Ryan (Glace Bay, NS) (12) also finished in double figures in the win, while Jenna Mae Ellsworth had a team-high 21 for the Panthers. Cape Breton’s Sandra Amoah (Toronto, ON) had the unenviable task of guarding Kiera Rigby, holding the league’s top scorer to just 18 points.
The Capers will host the Dalhousie Tigers on Friday (February 2) at the Sullivan Fieldhouse. Tip-off is set for 6 pm AST.