By Thomas Becker
The Saint Mary's Huskies' defence was impenetrable Saturday night, as they held the UPEI Panthers to just 28.3 per cent shooting in a 76-56 win.
Huskies head coach Scott Munro was pleased to see his team return to their dominant form on that end of the floor.
"We weren't great last night defensively and we're always one of the top teams in the country in that area. It's something we hang our hats on," he said. "We did a better job of slowing the ball down today and making them (the Panthers) see more people."
Shanieka Wood's presence in the middle was felt on both sides of the ball, as she scored a team-high 17 points. As a result, she was named Subway Player of the Game.
"She came off the bench, which isn't a role she usually has, and did a great job for us," the bench boss said.
The Huskies (6-4) overcame Kiera Rigby's four quick points to begin the game, as their balanced attack gave them an early 12-6 advantage.
After UPEI (4-6) burned a timeout, Reese Baxendale scored five straight to end the quarter, inching her team closer to Saint Mary's 13-11.
With a pair of baskets to begin the second, Rigby reclaimed the lead for the Panthers 15-13, but the Huskies responded with a big 16-6 run to storm ahead 29-21 at halftime.
Jasmine Cain and Katrina Murrell were the catalysts in the extended run scoring five apiece. Both finished in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The home squad's shooting woes continued in the second half and were held scoreless for almost five minutes, as the Huskies extended their lead 39-23.
But with a newfound defensive effort, the Panthers started to find their rhythm on the offensive end as well. In the latter half of the third quarter, they went on a 14-10 run to cut the deficit to 49-37.
Led by Wood's strong fourth quarter play – where she scored nine – the Huskies took over on both ends of the floor on their way to a convincing 76-56 win.
The Panthers return to action on Jan. 19 when they travel to Halifax to take on the Dalhousie Tigers. Tip off is set for 6 p.m.