By Thomas Becker
Photo Janessa Hogan
A pair of 2-4 squads battled it out Saturday night with the Panthers coming out on top 79-73 over the Memorial Sea-Hawks.
Down eight at halftime, the Panthers clawed their way back and put together a 48-point second half, while shooting a blistering 57.6 per cent from the field.
"I thought our kids did a really good job in the second half," said Panthers head coach Greg Gould. "We got our transition game going and we started to make some shots when we put the ball inside, so I was real pleased with that."
Each starter scored in double figures for the Panthers, who improve to 3-4 with the win. Jane McLaughlin led the way with 19 points and nine rebounds.
"This is the most unselfish team I've ever played for," said McLaughlin, whose team assisted on 21 of the 33 made field goals. "We're always passing and looking for each other on offensive side of the ball."
Karla Yepez got things going early for the Panthers, scoring the team's first five points, but still trailed Memorial 7-5 midway through the quarter.
Memorial pushed the lead to as many as six, but a Victoria Barbour three-pointer trimmed the deficit to three before the Sea-Hawks pushed the lead to 20-14 after one. Sydney Stewart led the way for the Sea-Hawks scoring eight in the opening quarter.
The Panthers defence picked up in the ensuing quarter, limiting Memorial to just five points in the first five minutes of the second. Led by a 15-9 run, UPEI tied the game at 29 apiece, forcing the Sea-Hawks to regroup with a timeout.
After the breather, the Sea-Hawks closed the half on a 10-2 run to take a 39-31 lead into the break.
Both teams traded baskets to begin the second half as Memorial maintained their eight-point advantage. But a determined Panthers squad fought their way back in the final minutes of the third to pull within two, 57-55.
Jenna Mae Ellsworth was the catalyst in the quarter, scoring seven of her 14 points in the third.
The Panthers' momentum carried in the fourth as they stormed ahead 66-58 behind a 9-3 run. UPEI continued its strong second-half play as Memorial struggled to find an answer for the Panther offence.
With less than five minutes remaining, Memorial cut the deficit to as few as three. But the Panthers responded quickly following a timeout and scored seven unanswered points, pushing the lead to 77-67.
Memorial added a couple triples late, but the game was already decided as the Panthers came away with the 79-73 final.
The Panthers and Sea-Hawks are at it again Nov. 27 at 1 p.m. at the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre.