It was a turnover-laden start to the first women’s semifinal at the 2011 MCAC Final 4 Basketball Championships Saturday afternoon. The perennial rivals from Red River College and Canadian Mennonite University battled hard early, with CMU committing 5 fouls in the first quarter before Red River was charged their initial infraction.
A Tia Ruddock three sparked a 7-2 Red River run to start the second quarter. Late in the half, third-year Rebel veteran Ashley Tolentino drove the lane strong, getting the hoop and the harm. Her three-point-play helped give her team a 33-25 lead over the defending champion Blazers headed into the break.
The second half saw the Rebels jump out quickly with a jumper from 6’1” post Kristen Young within seconds of the whistle. Her offensive success down low and rebounding on both ends gave Red River an 11 point lead after three.
The start of the fourth proved to be a lot like the first, with both teams committing several fouls and turnovers as CMU crawled back to within five with two minutes remaining. A Blazer steal and breakaway bucket by Laura Tait, followed by another from Meghan Kjartenson got the Blazers within one with only seconds to go. Another Tait steal resulted in a chance for her to take the lead at the line, but two missed free throws sealed the Blazers’ fate. The Rebels hung on to win 46-44, and will advance to Sunday’s Championship final against the #1 seeded University of Winnipeg College Wesmen at 1 p.m.
Kristen Young finished the game with 15 rebounds and 4 blocks, earning her Red River’s player of the game. Fourth-year centre Jaime Semchuk’s 8 points and strong defensive play earned her CMU’s nod.
More Final 4 Details here… http://bit.ly/BBallFinal4s
By Darrin Bauming