UPEI basketball teams show rust as they return to AUS action

There is no substitute for playing games.

No one understands better than the UPEI women’s and men’s basketball teams, which hosted Atlantic University Sports (AUS) games at the Chi-Wan Young Sports Center on March 5. Both clubs have shown the effects of not having the opportunity to play regularly. based.

The Acadia Axewomen eliminated the Women’s Panthers, playing their first game in more than three months since Nov. 27 from the undefeated ranks with a 73-67 win.

“You can’t deny it and turn a blind eye to that fact,” Panthers head coach Matt Gamblin said when told the Panthers looked like a team playing its first game in three months. “There was definitely rust.

“You don’t get the same conditioning as when you play in a game.

“We are two or three weeks behind everyone else with the cancellations right now. We need to figure it out quickly.

Acadia played its fifth game since conference play resumed Feb. 18. The Panthers had home games against UNB (February 18) and Dalhousie (February 25 and 26) canceled due to COVID-19 protocols involving those teams.

Acadia improved to 9-4 (win-lose) for 26 points, two ahead of UPEI (9-1), at the top of the AUS standings.

The UPEI men, playing only their second game of 2022, overcame a slow start to earn a 76-71 win over the Acadia Axemen. The Panthers defeated UNB 91-79 on Feb. 18 and postponed games against Dalhousie the following week due to COVID-19 protocols involving the Tigers.

“It was tough and we were a little slow,” Panthers head coach Darrell Glenn said. “I was proud of the way we hung on.

“It was a tough game and we had to get input from a number of people – some people who didn’t play a lot.”

Although there has been no official announcement, sources told the SaltWire network that the games of the two UPEI teams that have not been played will not be made up.

UPEI teams will play their final home games of the season on March 6 against St. Francis Xavier. The women’s game starts at 2 p.m. and the men’s game at 4 p.m.

Both UPEI teams close out the regular season at the Memorial on March 11-12. The AUS Women’s and Men’s Basketball Championships will take place March 17-20 at the Scotiabank Center in Halifax, NS.

The UPEI Panthers play in Atlantic University Sport. – Contributed

Women

The Axewomen took a 21-5 lead in the first quarter, but the Panthers cut that gap to 42-39 at halftime.

UPEI took its first lead in the third quarter and took a 58-55 lead in the final 10 minutes. At that point, Gamblin felt the Panthers were in a position to take control

Acadia responded by beating the Panthers 18-9 in the final quarter.

“If we had bounced back better and done some of those little things in the last few moments after taking the lead, I think we could have gotten away with it,” Gamblin said. “At the end of the day, the game was tight, they were getting all the rebounds, they were getting the hustle plays and we were a little slow.”

Jayda Veinot recorded 20 points, six assists and nine rebounds to lead the Axewomen. Elizabeth Beals-Iseyemi added 15 points and 10 rebounds while Samantha Russell sank 12 points and hauled six rebounds.

Lauren Rainford (20) and Reese Baxendale (19) were the top scorers for UPEI. Devon Lawlor contributed nine points off the bench and Carolina Del Santo had a game-high 17 rebounds.

The Panthers recognized seniors Baxendale, Del Santo and Jenna Mae Ellsworth in a pregame ceremony.

Elizabeth Beals-Iseyemi of the Acadia Axewomen guards Lauren Rainford, 11, of the UPEI Panthers during an Atlantic University Sports women's basketball game at the Chi-Wan Young Sports Center in Charlottetown on March 5.  Acadia won the contest 73-67.  - Jason Simmonds • SaltWire Network
Elizabeth Beals-Iseyemi of the Acadia Axewomen guards Lauren Rainford, 11, of the UPEI Panthers during an Atlantic University Sports women’s basketball game at the Chi-Wan Young Sports Center in Charlottetown on March 5. Acadia won the contest 73-67. – Jason Simmonds • SaltWire Network

Men

The UPEI men’s team improved to 7-4 (win-loss) for 22 points and the only possession of second place.

“It’s tough to get wins in this league,” Panthers head coach Darrell Glenn said. “I know that more than most because we had tough years.

“I’m really proud of the guys and the way we competed. It’s good to win a game like that because it was kind of a playoff atmosphere.

Acadia (1-13), playing its sixth game since play resumed, led 15-12 after the first quarter and the teams entered halftime tied at 38-38.

Elijah Miller scored 17 points to lead the Panthers. Isaiah Ankra provided a spark with a 13-point effort off the bench and Glen Cox delivered two game-saving defensive plays in the final minute. Sam Chisholm also added 11 points off the bench.

As the Panthers protected a two-point lead, a shoving Cox blocked an Acadia layup attempt and on the Axemen’s next possession, he netted a defensive rebound.

“Isaiah is a brave kid and plays really hard,” Glenn said. “Glen has been a very consistent guy for us.

“He comes in and does all the dirty work and he does it offensively.”

Glenn said while the Panthers may not have been at their best defensively, they found a way to get big saves at key times.

Jason Simmonds is a sportswriter at the SaltWire Network in Prince Edward Island.