It was clear from the beginning of the 2017 Women’s Final that RRC had found their shot and CMU was going to need to work the ball inside if they were going to contend with the scoring touch of the Rebels. The beginning of the game was relatively low scoring as both teams felt the opposition out and neither clicked into their offensive sets immediately. The largest lead of the first half came late in the first quarter when Red River went up 16-7 and CMU was struggling to get open looks. Regular season MVP Zera Lynn Panesa played terrific in the early stages of the first half, shooting 2-for-4 from 3 pt and led all scorers with 10 points. CMU helped their case considerably by taking the ball to the rim and drawing fouls, scoring 10 points off free throws alone. Shortly before the half the Rebels went on a small run that put them up 31-24, and their 15 points to CMU’s 0 from the 3 point line looked to be the largest factor of the half. Jessica Marx-Houndle led CMU in scoring with 6 points, shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from the field.
Red River busted out of the break adding to their lead and getting a much needed boost from 3rd year Raven Boulanger, who hit a couple of huge back-to-back 3 pointers for RRC. The Rebels were up 38-25 midway through the 3rd quarter and CMU was lacking a boost.
Rookie centre Caitlin Fennell gave her Blazers a much needed wake up when she blocked Panesa in CMU’s end and then laid a number of big pick and rolls for the Blazers, getting to the line and playing with some grit. She also played tremendous defence inside, something CMU was able to do quite well throughout the game.
When CMU had cut RRC’s lead to just 8 with less than a minute to go in the third, RRC coach Jaenas Pangilinan called a timeout to try to get control of his team’s dwindling lead. Out of their timeout, RRC was unable to convert their possession into points and CMU’s Remy Dickson got a huge and-1 for the Blazers, cutting RRC’s lead to 5. After RRC again failed to score on their trip down the floor, CMU then got the ball with about 10 seconds left in the quarter. They turned the ball over before the clock could run out and as the crowd counted down the final seconds, Panesa hit a wild runner in the lane to stem the momentum that CMU had begun generating.
The beginning of the 4th quarter was back and forth but CMU continued to cut into the lead that RRC had established in the first half. A huge turning point occurred when Zera Lynn Panesa fouled out with 3:57 to play and All Conference guard Sarah Townsend hit both free throws to bring CMU’s deficit to 58-49. Panesa’s scoring had slowed down considerably in the second half before she fouled out, but Boulanger continued to either make shots or get to the foul line, effectively slowing the game down and preventing CMU from generating enough momentum to catch up.
Remy Dickson shot 5-for-12 on the day and led all Blazers with 12 points. Brita Enns-Kutcy had a big game, grabbing 10 rebounds and finishing with 5 points. Boulanger led all scorers with 20 points and was named Tournament MVP.