On Sunday, January 21, the UTM Women’s varsity basketball team had their third game of the semester and the second against the St. Clair College Saints. These Eagles have definitely come a long way since their first semester and even played with a distinct coherence that reflected a unique chemistry between the players. The Eagles’ enthusiasm for their teammates on court was visible and definitely a stark difference from the Saints. UTM also exhibited a clear determination to score and a much more aggressive offensive throughout the game. Although UTM ultimately lost 79-92, they played with heart and definitely played to win. This was also a noticeable improvement from their last game with the Saints where the Eagles lost 67-85.
The name of the game was defense. The Saints maintained an impenetrable defense from the start and rarely let the Eagles get through the paint. Not to mention, their man-to-man defense strategy was flawless. In fact, the majority of UTM’s goals were achieved either from a distance or due to fouls. The Saints were also smart in recognizing their players with the strongest performance and kept them on the front lines for the majority of the time. The Eagles struggled for the first half to keep the Saints out of their paint, as well as faced a critical weakness of keeping many of the opponents wide open. Thus, the Saints were capable of keeping a consistent lead throughout the game and finishing strong. Moreover, the Saints unleashed their player Shannon Kennedy for the majority of the game where she exerted a monstrous domination and scored most of the points.
The Eagles had their own star player, Jade Addai, who could pull off a phenomenal layup to score multiple times throughout the game. Addai’s quick speed allowed her to consistently dash through the Saints defense and get a clean shot. As well, Addai performed several impressive moves including a few and1s, three pointers, and steals. Some of the other players to perform well for this particular game include Trisha-Ann Vo, Kanika Kaushik, Victoria Silva, and Priyanka Mehla.
The Eagles were about to catch up before halftime but ended the first half with a period of relative inactivity where both teams settled down to an equal struggle. It wasn’t until after halftime that the Eagles started to realize their blind spot and picked up considerably on their defense. However, the Saints had terrific teamwork and leveraged their ability to make efficient passes to repeatedly gain a substantial lead every time the eagles nearly closed the gap in the score.
The last two quarters of the game saw the Eagles covering some of their key weaknesses and getting much better at grabbing the boards and passing the ball around. Although both teams were, for the most part, equally matched, the Saints were able to maintain a lead due to a few short intervals throughout the game. This was especially prevalent within the third quarter when UTM had to substitute key players due to fatigue and the Saints could swiftly achieve a barrage of points. As such, Kennedy scored multiple threes during the third quarter, finishing it at 57-74. Overall, the game ended with Kaushik successfully sinking a free throw and Addai getting a lightning fast layup, that made sure UTM finished strong.
The Eagles have their sights set next on a game with the Sault College Cougars on January 27. These Eagles clearly have talent, perseverance, and an overabundance of potential. With these set of skills, the Eagles are set to introduce themselves for their first game of the year against the Cougars and show them exactly what we’re made of.