KINGSTON, Ont. (from Toronto Blues) — The Toronto Varsity Blues women’s basketball team held off the No. 8-ranked Queen’s Gaels to secure a 79-76 road victory Friday night at the Queen’s Arc.
Fifth-year guard Rahshida Atkinson recorded more than 20 points for the second straight contest with a game-high 23 points, while also leading the Blues with four assists. Fourth-year standout Keyira Parkes chipped in with 15 points and four rebounds. The duo recorded the team’s last five points to seal Toronto’s third straight victory.
Veteran forward Emily Piccini added 13 points and a game-high six steals, while Nada Radonjic tallied 10 points and five boards in the victory.
Queen’s Sophie de Goede (Victoria, BC) reached a team-high 20 points, and fellow forward Veronika Lavergne (Ottawa) recorded a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
With the win, the Blues record jumps to 8-12 and extends their lead on Laurentian for the final playoff spot in the OUA East division. The Gaels drop to 16-4 on the season with the loss.
The theme in the first quarter for Toronto was unselfish play. Eight different players recorded a basket for the Blues in the opening frame, which created a 16-2 run. Piccini registered five points to help gain a 22-13 advantage after the first 10 minutes.
Atkinson was the perfect spark plug off the bench in the second quarter. The fifth-year geography major drilled back-to-back three-pointers for a total of 10 points in the frame. On the defensive side of the ball, the Blues held the Gaels to less than 28 per cent from the field in the half as they went into the locker room up 43-31.
Queen’s came out of the half running on all cylinders. They jumped out to an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to as close as five points, but the Blues maintained the advantage at 55-49 heading into the final quarter.
The Gaels continued the pressure, putting together a 9-2 run to regain the lead for their first time since the first quarter with six minutes to go. There were eight lead changes the rest of the way, but a late basket by Atkinson secured for the win for Toronto.
The Blues continue their road trip Saturday when they travel to York to battle the Lions. Tipoff is set for 6 pm EST at the Tait McKenzie Centre.