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Playoff-bound Lady Birds look to strengthen seeding

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Solidifying their playoff position will be the goal when the Memorial Sea-Hawks play their final two games of the 2018-19 Atlantic University Sport women’s basketball regular season later this week in St. John’s.

The Sea-Hawks remain in fifth place in the AUS conference after splitting a pair of games with the Saint Mary’s Huskies in Halifax over the weekend, winning 80-71 on Saturday before dropping a 65-54 decision Sunday afternoon.

The results mean Memorial (8-10) sits two points ahead of the Dalhousie Tigers, who are in sixth place and own the last playoff berth.

The Sea-Hawks entered the weekend knowing they had already clinched a spot in the conference championship tourney March 1-3 in Halifax, but are still looking for the best possible seeding for that competition.

Dal is the opponent this coming Friday and Saturday at the Memorial Field House, and a pair of losses to the Tigers would drop the Sea-Hawks to sixth. A split would guarantee them fifth place, while a two-game sweep of the visitors would help maintain Memorial’s hopes for a fourth-place finish.

The UNB Varsity Reds now hold fourth, six points up on the Lady Hawks. However, since each of next weekend’s Dalhousie-Memorial matchups is with four points, there remains a mathematical chance the Sea-Hawks could overtake the Reds, but only if UNB loses its remaining two contests.

Saint Mary’s 65, Memorial 54 (Sunday)

The Sea-Hawks outscored their hosts in the first and final quarters but faltered badly in the middle stanzas as they lost for the first time in five games.

Memorial registered 22 points in the first 10 minutes to hold a six-point lead on the Huskies, but managed just 17 points in total over the following two quarters, creating a deficit that could not be eliminated.

Sydney Ezekiel (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Sydney Stewart (12, 10) each had double-doubles for the Sea-Hawks, while Brooklyn Wright added 11 points.

Saint Mary’s (3-16) was led by Jada Yeo (17 points), Kendra MacKinnon (15 points) and Arianna Macias (13 points, 10 rebounds).

Memorial 80, Saint Mary’s 71 (Saturday)

Stewart had 24 points, while fellow starters Ezekiel and Wright each posted 14 as Memorial recorded a fourth straight victory.

Haille Nickerson contributed 17 points off the bench, which might be seen as the one of the biggest differences between Saturday’s win and Sunday’s loss. In the rematch, Nickerson managed just two points, both on free throws.

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