(CHARLOTTETOWN, PE) Behind a 42-point second half, the UNB Varsity Reds spoiled the UPEI Panthers' home opener, scoring 77-61 win Friday night.
Senior guard Laura Kaye(Fredericton, NB) led her team with 24 points on 10-of-21 shooting.
"It just felt good tonight. We've all been working on our threes, and I think we're starting off the season well with it," said Kaye, who earned Subway Player of the Game honours.
It must've been a combination of nerves and excitement for the Panthers, as they missed open layups in the early going.
Their defence, however, kept them close by holding UNB to just 33.3 percent shooting and forcing eight turnovers.
The V-Reds started on a 10-4 run before UPEI stormed back with four consecutive layups to carry a 14-12 lead after one quarter. Reese Baxendale(Sussex, NB) was in the middle of all the action, leading the way with six of her team-leading 16 points in the opening frame.
UNB led by just two, 35-33, at the half.
The two teams traded baskets early in the third quarter. However, Grace Wade(Moncton, NB) continued the UNB trend of making big threes as the Varsity Reds opened a 57-48 lead.
"The key for us was our ball movement and not staying stagnant, and it allowed us to get open looks," Kaye said.
A combination of missed shots and lazy closeouts in the fourth quarter stifled any chance of a UPEI comeback, and UNB held their lead to take the first game of the weekend series 77-61.
"I think for us, it's about being disruptive on the defensive end and not letting them get what they want," said Kaye.
The Panthers look to avenge their loss when the teams square off again on Saturday, at 6:00pm
RECAP AND PHOTOS BY: Thomas Becker/for UPEI Athletics