The Memorial Sea-Hawks advanced to the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women’s basketball semifinals by holding on for an 83-79 quarter-final win over the Acadia Axewomen before a very noisy capacity crowd of 1,800 at the Field House in St. John’s Friday night.
Memorial will take on the top-seeded and two-time defending champion Cape Breton Capers at six o'clock tonight in one semifinal game, while the other has the St. Francis Xavier X-Women tipping off against the second-seeded University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds at 8 p.m..
St. FX defeated the Saint Mary’s Huskies 74-63 in Friday’s other quarter-final.
In the Memorial-Acadia game, the Sea-Hawks, took a 22-17 first-quarter lead with the vocal support of fans who were so loud that they made it difficult to hear the refereess whistles.
When Kim Devison hit a three-pointer to give the Sea-Hawks a 14-point lead with six minutes left in the first half, the crowd erupted. Urged on by members of MUN’s men’s basketball team, the fans started a wave. When Newfoundland music was played during a timeout, it sent the foot-stomping, hand-clapping fans into a frenzy.
The Lady Hawks seemed to feed of the crowd’s energy and owned a 47-33 lead at the half, with the help of a brilliant 17-point effort from Grace Fishbein.
The Sea-Hawks still owned a double-digit lead (65-55) heading into the final quarter, helped by the fact Acadia missed four straight third-quarter, three-point shots in an attempt to cut the lead. But the Axewomen fought back early in the fourth quarter to reduce the deficit to six points and even battled to within three points of the Lady Hawks with 34 seconds on the clock.
Fishbein turned the ball over by taking a foul with 31 seconds to play and Acadia’s Krista More hit one of two free throws to make the score 81-79 , but time ran out on the fifth-seeded Axewomen.
Fishbein finished with 31 points to lead the Lady Hawks, the tournament’s fourth seed
The championship game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday, following the third-place contest, which will be played at 11 a.m.
St. Francis 74, Saint Mary's 63
The sixth-seeded Huskies started strong against third seed St. FX, building up a 24-17 first-quarter lead, but the X-Women moved ahead 42-141 by the half and never looked back.
Ashley Stephen and Donisha Young each had 17 points for the X-Women. Stephen also contributed 13 rebounds.
Justine Colley and Susanne Canvin tossed 21 points each for the Huskies.
Deer Lake’s Maegan Seaward sank 10 first-half points for SMU.