HALIFAX, N.S.) The Memorial Sea-Hawks (5th) defeated the top-ranked Cape Breton Capers 90-82 in AUS women's semifinal action on Saturday afternoon at Scotiabank Centre to advance to the championship final.
This marks the Sea-Hawks' first trip to the finals since they won back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008.
The Capers opened the scoring in the game, taking off to a 4-0 lead just two minutes into the first quarter. Cape Breton was able to keep their lead throughout the quarter, holding a 15-7 edge with two minutes remaining. With just seconds remaining on the clock in the first, a three from Audrey Rankin put the Capers ahead 23-12 heading into the second.
The Sea-Hawks came out hot in the second, with Sydney Ezekiel posting a three just over 30 seconds into the frame. Memorial then went on to score 11 unanswered points to take a 27-24 lead with five minutes remaining in the frame. The Sea-Hawks outscored Cape Breton 28-12 in the second frame, giving them a 40-35 edge at halftime.
They were able to hold their lead throughout the start of the third frame, with the Capers beginning to catch up halfway through the quarter. A Mackenzee Ryan three-pointer at 3:30 put Cape Breton within four, followed by two points from her teammate Madison Munro to cut into Memorial's lead 59-57. However, the Capers were unable to catch the Sea-Hawks in the frame. Memorial pulled ahead to a 68-61 lead heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
Two successful free throws from Ezekiel allowed Memorial to pull ahead 73-61 just over a minute into the fourth. Two points from Brown pulled the Capers within 10 halfway through the frame, but the Sea-Hawks' strong play continued and they held an 84-66 edge with four minutes remaining in regulation. With the clock winding down and the Capers looking for the comeback, a steal from Toni Bianchini with 50 seconds remaining put Cape Breton within 10. Ryan sunk two successful free throws with 16 seconds left on the clock, to put the Capers within six, but their comeback fell short as the Sea-Hawks held on for the 90-82 victory.
Ezekiel led the Sea-Hawks in points with a game-high 26, adding seven rebounds. Stewart finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
The Capers were led by Ryan and Brown in the loss, who both finished with 21 points. Ryan added six rebounds, four assists, and one steal, while Brown added 11 rebounds for the double-double.
The Memorial Sea-Hawks will now advance to AUS championship final Sunday at 1 p.m. at Scotiabank Centre. They will face the winner of the second semifinal between the UPEI Panthers and Acadia Axewomen.