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Thunder Women’s Basketball Sweep Keyano

Posted on: Feb 16, 2016

On Friday night the Concordia Women’s Basketball team took to the court to face off against the Huskies from Keyano College. Both teams knew the circumstances surrounding the weekend; win and keep their playoff opportunities alive or lose and limit their chances for a postseason. The Thunder came out of the gate looking focused and prepared, knowing that they had to be good tonight and not make too many mental mistakes. The game was a back and forth affair as both teams fought for every possession, rebound and an opportunity to put themselves ahead. With the game tied at the end of the first quarter, the Thunder looked to take a leap forward in the 2nd frame as they attacked the pressure from Keyano. “We have to attack the pressure with the dribble or by passing it before the defense gets there. We have to take advantage of all situations," stated Coach Valpreda. Not only did the Thunder do a great job offensively but also held Keyano to two points in the second quarter going into halftime up 30-20.  Going into the second half, the Thunder had to be better at one thing and that’s being at the free throw line. The Thunder struggled at making those 'easy' ones and couldn’t fully open up the lead and Keyano was able to stay in the game largely due to the Thunder’s lack of finishing. “We have to be better at closing out the game. They have some excellent players on their team that are able to turn the tables quick and come right back.” Coach Valpreda was making a specific reference to Keyano’s all-star Kika Greenlee who leads the North in scoring and is the engine that makes Keyano work.  That being said, Concordia's Jordan Lembryk did an excellent job of defending her, keeping her to 17pts. The Thunder had contributions from everyone and continued to work together to get the 70-59 victory.  Player of the Game was Sofia Lucadello with 12 pts, 3 steals, 9 rebs and 2 assists.
Saturday afternoon the Thunder took to the court for the matinee game. Continuing on from where they left off on Friday night, Concordia came out charged up and ready to go. But the Huskies would also come out fighting, knowing this was their only opportunity to keep their postseason dreams alive. The game began with the Huskies being the aggressor as the Thunder kept putting them on the free throw line and missing defensive rotations to give the ladies from Ft. McMurray multiple opportunities to finish around the rim. The Thunder did clean it up and worked a lot harder to take away those chances for Keyano and closed out the first quarter up 23-20. As the second quarter opened, the Thunder started to pull away with the guidance of Nakita Newman who hit a barrage of 3-pointers. “Nakita played well today. She seemed focused and locked in on what she needed to do. She’s a veteran and she stepped up for us today,” glowed Coach Valpreda. Although the Thunder again had free reign on the offensive end, they could not capitalize on free throws, shooting just 30% from the line after 20 minutes. Going into halftime the Thunder were up 44-33. “We weren’t great from the FT line in the first 20 mins. By contrast, Keyano made 13 out of 15 free throws in the first half. As the second half started the Thunder again came out scoring basket after basket and when they did get to the FT line, this time they took full advantage of it, shooting 65% in the second half. The Thunder played as a cohesive unit and battled every possession, closing the game out with a 78-67 win. "The Thunder looked great this weekend and played with energy, hard work and hustle. I’m very proud of the way the girls responded this weekend. They competed and kept battling and (we) got contributions again from everyone on the team," concluded Valpreda. Congratulation to Nakita Newman who was Player of the Game with 24pts, 5rebs, 7asst, 2blks and 2 steals.
The Thunder will finish their regular season with a home and home series against the Augustana Vikings. The final home game goes Saturday night at 6 PM at the Ralph King.