Memorial Sea-Hawks coach Dough Partridge said getting knocked out of the Atlantic University Sport women's basketball semifinals for the second straight year is "bothersome," but he isn't about to push the panic button ... at least not yet.
The Lady Hawks fell 77-66 to Saint Mary's Huskies Saturday while Cape Breton Capers defeated SMU 69-60 to win their second straight AUS championship and fourth in the past seven years.
Vicki Thistle led MUN with 19 points. Grace Fishbein added 10 and Ally Forsey chipped in with eight points for the Sea-Hawks.
"We got out of the gate good offensively," said Partridge. "We hit some shots and made some plays. But, defensively, we just never got to the right spots. That combined with we just couldn't get stops. We stopped making outside shots for a while and when our offence dried up, it put us in a hoe and that was that, really," the veteran MUN mentor said in summing up the match.
AUS rookie of the year Justine Colley led SMU with 38 points.
"We can't give Colley 38 points and think that we are going to have a shot to win the game," said Partridge.
"We did a good job on her during the regular season but we didn't play help defence well at all. People got too married to their own player." The Huskies, who led 34-25 at the half and outscored the Sea-Hawks 23-10 in the fourth quarter, outrebounded MUN 37-30.
It's also the second straight year MUN has failed to reach the final after finishing second during the regular season. Memorial was runner-up to the 19-1 Capers with a 13-7 record on the season, while SMU finished third at 12-8.
"Whatever stretch we're going through now, it's just going to make people understand how special six championships in nine years was," said Partridge who added that he felt the team isn't that far away from getting back to that level of excellence.
"We have the size. It's the best rebounding team we've ever had. We have the athletes. We have kids who can score. We need more consistency and we need better physical training.
"That's what I'm interested in this summer," adds Partridge, "to see whether people are really ready to make the commitment to say yes - next to school - basketball is the most important thing in my life the next three years. If they're not, than we'll find different people."
Memorial Sea-Hawks men's basketball team was officially eliminated from the playoffs Friday when UPEI Panthers defeated UNB Varsity Reds 90-83.
MUN (2-18) completed the regular season with a pair of loses to Acadia Axemen in Wolfville, N.S. during the weekend.
Acadia defeated the Sea-Hawks 99-67 Sunday. Justin Grainger was top for MUN with 22 points. Mike Helsby netted 14, Robbie Habib sank 13 and Mark Woodland scored 11.
The Axemen won 91-79 Saturday. Habib and Woodland each scored 15 points for the Sea-Hawks.
The 2009-10 AUS women's championship results:
Saint Mary's 64, Acadia 63
Dalhousie 59, St. Francis 52
Cape Breton 61, Dalhousie 56
Saint Mary's 77, Memorial 56
Cape Breton 69, Saint Mary's 60