The first battle of the women's basketball playoffs is underway in just a few minutes time over at SSN Canada. This post will be updated throughout the game.
4:00 pm local time - SSN announcers say that Katie Arbuthnot is back in the lineup tonight, big boost for the Pandas. Alberta goes with Popovici, Haylett, Bakker, Rissling and Hillier. UBC with Lisson, Vieweg, Huntley, St.-Pierre and Young.
6:09 1st Q, 8-4 AB - Georgia Popovici has come out flying, she's 2-for-2 from beyond the arc for six so far, while playing some good inside defense. Not much penetration from either offense so far, the defenses are well-prepared.
2:36 1st Q, 13-12 UBC - Lia St.-Pierre found wide open for a three ball after a good transition. Alberta having some trouble getting set up on defense. Gives UBC their second lead of the game.
End of 1st Q, 16-13 AB - UBC getting into some early foul trouble and the Pandas have made them pay from the line, going 8-for-8, although the Thunderbirds have shot better from the field. Katie Arbuthnot is looking good early on for Alberta, with 4 points in 8 minutes.
6:17 2nd Q, 25-18 AB - The interesting matchup here has been Georgia Popovici and Alex Vieweg. Neither player getting much room inside but have each racked up 8 points. UBC takes a timeout, they've gone cold in the second quarter shooting and have turned the ball over nine times already this game. Gotta get that offense under control, since Alberta have come to play tonight.
4:11 2nd Q, 25-22 AB - Quick 4-0 run from the Thunderbirds have led to Alberta taking their timeout. UBC has the fast-break advantage so far, I think they've made four or five baskets off transition so far, including both in the mini-run they've been on.
End of 2nd Q, 35-30 AB - Marisa Haylett's shot at the buzzer doesn't fall, and, as Doug McLean notes on the SSN Broadcast, neither team is very organized on the half-court offense. The shot-clock is ticking a few seconds faster than normal it seems, as five shot-clock violations have occured already. Despite the struggles in ball movement, both teams are shooting well at 52%, hence the respectable scoreline.
UBC only sent Alberta to the line twice in that quarter, taking them out of foul trouble. Haylett leads the way for the Pandas, 8 points and 2 boards in 19 minutes of play, while Alex Vieweg has dominated Popovici in transition and under the offensive glass, she's scored 14 points in that half and has a pair of rebounds, but, two fouls incurred, which may come into play if the game stays close.
7:06 3rd Q, 39-37 AB - Sally Hillier responds to a Kris Young layup giving UBC the lead with a 3-ball to put the Pandas back up top.
4:20 3rd Q, 46-41 AB - And former Kitsilano Blue Demon Marisa Haylett breaks Kris Young's ankles and sticks away a long jumper for her 13th point and adds the Pandas lead.
0:41 3rd Q, 49-48 AB - Leigh Stansfield's two free throws were the first points made in over a minute of action. Two turnovers and two fouls in that span.
End of 3rd Q, 51-48 AB - Marisa Haylett with a couple of free throws of her own to stretch the gap back to three as we enter the all-important fourth quarter. Neither team is doing too well under opposing glass, just five offensive rebounds on both sides (3 for UBC and 2 for Alberta).
8:35 4th Q, 53-50 AB - Lia St.-Pierre back into the game for UBC, she has six points and three fouls, while Georgia Popovici is struggling for the Pandas, not making a basket since the first quarter and caused a turnover being unable to handle a Haylett pass.
7:28 4th Q, 53-53 - Devan Lisson with a clutch three ball ties us right back up. Alberta looking very disorganized right now.
4:47 4th Q, 58-57 AB - Pace is picking up as the urgency increases for both teams. In the 'unlikely heroes' file is Kris Young, who averaged 6.5 points per game during the season, with 18 so far for UBC who has gone 9-for-12. Despite the point disadvantage, UBC appears to be in control here.
2:59 4th Q, 59-58 UBC - Rissling missed a layup for Alberta, but got her own rebound and kicked it outside to a wide-open Sally Hillier, who has otherwise been automatic from deep tonight, missing a big one for the Pandas. T-Birds in clear control.
1:56 4th Q, 63-60 UBC - And Haylett's pass is wayward, giving Alex Vieweg an easy steal and bucket as her T-Birds take a 3-point lead. Alberta's shooting has gone cold in the fourth quarter. Timeout Alberta.
1:46 4th Q 63-63 - And a well-drawn up inbounds play gives Marisa Haylett a wide-open look for three and she ties this up. Timeout UBC as the intensity rattles up in this one.
0:26 4th Q, 66-63 UBC - With two seconds on the shotclock, Alex Vieweg drives the lane and collects a foul, hitting the first foul shot, with the Pandas missing the box-out on the second shot (missed!) and Lia St.-Pierre collects an easy basket as time winds down for the Pandas.
0:16 4th Q, 66-66 - And for the second time this quarter, Haylett ties the ball game with another huge three, this one from the left wing. Timeout UBC. Will they try to win the game at the buzzer?
End of 4th Q, 66-66 - Alysia Rissling goes straight up against Alex Vieweg and keeps her from any good looks, her desperation shot with time ticking off doesn't fall, and we go to an overtime period. In for a great finish, as Alberta has clearly wrestled momentum away from UBC, who have surprisingly, stopped pressing Sally Hillier as they were early on.
Rissling and Lia St.-Pierre both have four fouls. Popovici and Vieweg each have three. No other foul trouble to speak of.
3:21 OT, 72-66 AB - Annekka Bakker and Georgia Popovici each make circus shots, then Haylett grabs a steal and goes the other way to cap off this 6-point run at the start of overtime.
1:44 OT, 74-68 AB - And if things couldn't get worse for the Thunderbirds, Devan Lisson misses two free throw attempts, although this is right before Vieweg and Popovici trade baskets.
0:14 OT, 78-74 AB - Timeout UBC after a tough shot from Arianne Duschene of the Thunderbirds. Haylett made a pair of free throws to put points 77 and 78 on the board, which are the two important ones with such little time left.
0:14 OT, 80-74 AB The T-Birds manage to foul without taking any time off of the clock, but unfortunately, the double-whammy as it was Kris Young, UBC's second highest scorer of the night, on Marisa Haylett, who's automatic from the stripe, who knocks down both.
End OT, 80-74 AB FINAL Lisson's late shot doesn't fall and the Pandas control the rebound, giving the Pandas the first game of the series, in a game that easily could have gone the other way.
Marisa Haylett made the two clutch three balls in the fourth quarter and had a game-high 29 points in 37 minutes of play. Sally Hillier had 12 points and six rebounds, with all her points coming off of three-point shots. For UBC, it was Alex Vieweg with a 22 points, while Kris Young scored 18 points and also collected six boards.
Haylett tied it up late, a lead the Pandas never gave up, and they'll take Game 1. Game 2 goes tomorrow at 1:00 PM local time from Edmonton.