WOLFVILLE, N.S. — The Acadia Axewomen squeezed out the win in a 4-point contest against the UPEI Panthers on Saturday night by a score of 78-70. The win evens the season series to 1-1 after an early Axewomen January loss in Charlottetown.
"I think our bench was super deep. Anyone on our bench can step up and definitely knock shots down, give us some energy defensively. Our bench did a fantastic job, they were ready with the scout, which is awesome," said Haley MacDonald following the game.
It was a fairly low-scoring first quarter for the two high-scoring teams. Acadia took a 1-point lead out of the first quarter, with the score at 13-12.
The slow first quarter was followed up by an explosive performance from both sides. UPEI added 19 in the quarter, while Acadia put up 25, bringing the score to 38-31 for the Axewomen.
Acadia appeared to have a substantial double-digit lead entering the second half, but UPEI Panther Reese Baxendale (Apohaqui, N.B.) scored a quick five points before the break to bring them a little closer.
Sarsha Cadle (Melbourne, Australia) was unstoppable for the Axewomen, shooting 5-6 from the field and grabbing 5 rebounds. She was aggressive on the offensive glass, giving Acadia several second chances to score.
Two minutes into the second half, Cadle went down hard and appeared to have suffered an ankle injury. She could not bear much weight on one of her legs as she hobbled off the court. Cadle did not return to the game and was on crutches after the game.
With a minute left in the third quarter, UPEI's Kimeshia Henry (Ajax, Ont.) lost her footing and after going down was not able to stand up again on her own. She was seen walking off at the end of the game on crutches.
Acadia had a slight edge in the third quarter, increasing their lead to 57-48.
Axewoman Haley McDonald (Port Williams, N.S.) began to heat up in the third, leading all players with 21 points. She got the crowd fired up with two three-point plays early in the quarter and added a block later on.
With three minutes left the Panthers were able to tie the game up at 67 each side.
UPEI's Jenna Mae Ellsworth (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) was a major contributor to the Panther's comeback in the fourth quarter. Though she only made 2-12 of her field goals, she went 10-12 from the line and added 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Ellsworth was named her team's player of the game.
Ellsworth's excellent showing was complemented by her teammate Reese Baxendale, who scored a team-high 22 points and made 4 of her 8 attempted three-pointers.
The Axewomen kept up their strong play in the last 2 minutes, but the Panthers were unable to keep up.
Acadia took the game by a score of 78-70.
McDonald led her team to another victory, putting up a game-high 26 points along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists. McDonald's performance in Saturday's game earned her yet another Subway Player of the Game award
The Axewomen play their next two games on the road against the Cape Breton University Capers next weekend and the season-closing game versus Saint Mary's on Wed. Feb. 19.
The Axewomen are in control of their own destiny with three remaining games. "We just have to be ready to play. Both SMU and Cape Breton have some very strong players. Offensively, we just have to keep doing our thing. We are rolling now and the bench is going, our starters are going. Everyone is able to contribute in a lot of different ways. We just keep playing the way we are playing, we will be fine," noted McDonald.
The Panthers have a double-header at Dalhousie next Saturday and Sunday.
Recap and photos by Acadia Athletics Communications