David Larkins, Wesmen Athletics
WINNIPEG — After a season finale of many misses, the Winnipeg Wesmen finally found their stroke in time for their playoff debut.
The Wesmen went 9-for-25 from three, including back-to-back-to-back triples in a key stretch of the third, and held off a vigilant UNBC Timberwolves team 82-65 in a Canada West conference play-in game Thursday night at Duckworth Centre.
“I think just feeding off each other’s energy and confidence is what got our shots going,” Miller said. “I think in the first and second quarters I tried to set the tempo and then my other teammates started picking it up and starting getting their confidence.”
Hezekiah and Miller led the way with 24 points apiece and Robyn Boulanger, who hit four threes, added 17 off the bench. Hezekiah added 12 rebounds for her third double-double in the past four outings. Miller stacked the stat box again with nine rebounds, five assists and four steals.
“That’s huge. That’s huge. That takes a lot of guts,” Miller said of her teammates.
“… Confidence was a big part of today. Even though I was missing, I wasn’t thinking about my missed shots, I was thinking about my next shot.”
Maria Mongomo had 23 to pace UNBC, the 10-seed, while Vasiliki Louka added 15 and a game-high 19 rebounds. Madison Landry also had 15.
Winnipeg hit 15 of its 16 free throws, while UNBC connected on 13 of 18. The Timberwolves finished shooting 36.2 per cent from the field, just slightly ahead of what the Wesmen shot from three (36.0). Winnipeg finished 36.4 per cent from the field.
The Wesmen forced 22 UNBC turnovers and committed 14 of their own.
Despite the presence of Louka in the middle, Winnipeg won the rebounding battle 47-39.
The Wesmen will move on to the next round of the post-season, a trip to Saskatoon to take on the Saskatchewan Huskies, the team that Miller previous played for but left after the 2014 season.
“It means a lot. I got a lot to prove,” Miller said.