Thistle is cruising, not coasting

John
John Browne
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Lady Hawks on the road against U.P.E.I.

Although Vicki Thistle's points-per-game is down from last season, Memorial Sea-Hawks women's basketball coach Dough Partridge dismisses any suggestion the team's top scorer is coasting in her fourth Atlantic Universities Sport (AUS) season.

"Only if you think 15 points and six boards a game on 53 per cent shooting is coasting," says Partridge.

Thistle has a 14.1 ppg. average with 5.9 rebounds per game so far this season, compared to 16.3 ppg. and 6.8 rpg. last year. That was up from 12.1 ppg. and 5 rpg. in the 2007-08 campaign.

MUN women's Sea Hawks basketball player Victoria Thistle (12) battles for possession for the ball with the Dalhousie Tigers player Laurie Girdwood during AUS basketball action at the MUN Field House last Sunday afternoon.- Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegra

Although Vicki Thistle's points-per-game is down from last season, Memorial Sea-Hawks women's basketball coach Dough Partridge dismisses any suggestion the team's top scorer is coasting in her fourth Atlantic Universities Sport (AUS) season.

"Only if you think 15 points and six boards a game on 53 per cent shooting is coasting," says Partridge.

Thistle has a 14.1 ppg. average with 5.9 rebounds per game so far this season, compared to 16.3 ppg. and 6.8 rpg. last year. That was up from 12.1 ppg. and 5 rpg. in the 2007-08 campaign.

"I think she is playing with more defensive intensity and is better on the boards than she was last year," said Partridge.

"The injuries she's suffered certainly put her back, but again, there still isn't any individual in the league who can guard her."

Thistle suffered a nasty ankle injury playing varsity soccer in October.

Partridge said Thistle is providing more balanced offense than a year ago, "and she is about even with this time last year.

"Her offence spiked in the last 10 games last year when our outside shooting collapsed."

When asked how he felt Thistle was playing overall, Partridge replied: "I am happy."

Thistle, who changed her mind about leaving the province and returned to the Sea-Hawks this season, leads the 6-2 Sea-Hawks into AUS action six o'clock tonight and 1 p.m. Sunday against the 0-8 University of Prince Edward Island Panthers in Charlottetown.

MUN's other top scorers are Erin Mullaley (13th,11.1 ppg.), Brittany Dalton (14th, 11 ppg.) and Ally Forsey (15th, 10.3 ppg.) UPEI doesn't have a player in the top 15 in scoring or in the top 10 in rebounding or assists.

The Sea-Hawks are coming off a split at home last weekend with St. Francis Xavier X-Women.

Asked if there was anything that worried him about Monday's 77-70 loss to St. Francis, Partridge said with a laugh: "Just the way we played. If we don't do that again, we'll be fine."

The Sea-Hawks opened the series with a 69-51 victory over St. FX .

"They (X-Women) came out with some fire in their belly (Monday), but if Ally (Forsey) stays on the floor, or we box out (17 offensive rebounds allowed) or take care of the ball (28 turnovers), I am not sure the outcome is the same.

"If we execute and they beat us, then it's just two even teams going at it, like Sunday when the turnovers were 16 for them 25 for us and the offensive rebounds were about 14 for us 10 for them," said Partridge.

"We failed to play on Monday and handed them the decision," said the MUN mentor. "There is a lot of basketball left to play before we find out who the better team is."

Partridge said there's never a reason why a team should not win.

"The issue," he says, "is whether you will do the things you need to do to make it happen. Last weekend, we did those things the first day and refused to do them the second day, so we'll see if we learned anything."

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Atlantic Universities Sport, University of Prince Edward Island Panthers

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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