(Halifax, N.S.) – The UPEI Panthers shot the lights out from the free-throw line, going 31-of-38 overall, and were able to top the Dalhousie Tigers 81-75 on Friday night at the Dalplex.
The contest was a tight matchup that saw the lead change 16 times. The Panthers were led by forward Kiera Rigby (Charlottetown, PE) who led both sides with 28 points – going 12-of-12 from the charity stripe. The Tigers were led by forward Robertha Charles (Montreal, QC) with 20 points.
The first quarter was a see-saw battle with neither team going up by more than five points.
The Tigers took an early 8-4 lead, before the Panthers went on a 9-0 to go up 13-8. Free-throw shooting was the biggest factor offensively for UPEI, as they went 10-for-10 as a team in the opening 10 minutes. Rigby led the way with 10 points, six of which came from the charity stripe.
Dalhousie answered back with a 13-8 run of their own, as the two teams entered the second quarter tied at 21. Perimeter shooting was critical for the Tigers, as they went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Guard Hannah Gonzales (Calgary, AB) was responsible for two of the Tigers treys and led the team with six points.
The second quarter saw the lead change on nine separate occasions, however it was UPEI that went into the break up by two. Rigby continued her perfect streak from the line, while forward Jane McLaughlin (Fortune, PE) added seven points.
Dalhousie responded with well-balanced scoring, as seven different players registered at least four points in the half, led by Charles who was strong in the paint and tallied nine points. The Tigers also held a plus-11 advantage on the glass, as four different players registered at least five rebounds.
The chess match between the two squads continued in the third quarter, with seven different lead changes. The Tigers opened the quarter on a 9-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game, at seven points. The Panthers tightened up their defence down the stretch however, going on an 8-0 run of their own to take a 67-59 lead into the fourth quarter.
McLaughlin and guard Jenna Mae Ellsworth (Charlottetown, PE) led the charge offensively for UPEI, with seven points each. They also combined to go 12-of-16 from the free throw line heading into the fourth quarter.
Dalhousie was paced by guard Diedre Alexander (Woodstock, NB), who netted seven points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field.
The Tigers chipped away at UPEI's lead in the fourth quarter, lowering the deficit to as much as four points, but were unable to complete the comeback as the visitors essentially won the game from the free-throw line in the final minutes.
With the win, the Panthers advanced to 10-9 on the season, while the Tigers finished the year at 3-17. UPEI will close out the season on the road tomorrow against StFX.