Kwantlen on pace to earn a playoff position
Remaining a game above .500, the Kwantlen Eagles retained a firm hold on a playoff position in the PACWEST women’s basketball standings.
Kwantlen defeated the Langara Falcons 59-41 Friday night in Vancouver, before falling 47-36 to the Douglas College Royals Saturday in New Westminster.
The Eagles are now 7-6 (won-lost) in league play, tied for fourth plaice with the Quest Kermodes and remain three games against of the seventh-place Falcons. Six teams qualify for the PACWEST playoffs.
Kwantlen went up 11-5 after 10 minutes Saturday, and continued to build the lead the rest of the way, outscoring Langara in each quarter.
Jessica Villadiego was the top scorer for the winners, netting 16 points while grabbing eight defensive rebounds.
Amber-Lee Kavanagh added 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Samantha McPhail was credited with 10 rebounds.
The Eagles shot 55 per cent from three-point territory, and 64 per cent from the free-throw line.
“It was the first time all year where we came out strong right from the opening tip,” said head coach Dan Nayebzadeh. “Jessica ran the point and shot the ball very well (five-for-10), and Sam and Amber rebounded really well for us.”
Against a Douglas team that is in second place at 10-3, the Eagles fell behind early and couldn’t catch up. They trailed 22-13 at the break, and although cut the lead by one after three-quarters, lost ground over the final 10 minutes.
Haeley Williams was the long Kwantlen scorer in double digits, hitting two of three field goals from behind the three-point line to finish with 11 points. McPhail was the top rebounder with nine.
Kwantlen managed to shoot just 21 per cent from the field, and 35 per cent from the free-throw line.
“Defensively we were fine,” said Nayebzadeh. “Offensively we struggled to score. We were unable to hit shots, couldn’t make free throws and had a tough time executing our offense.”
The men’s team from Kwantlen Polytechnic University lost twice last weekend, and dropped into last place in a very tight PACWEST race.
The Eagles lost 104-77 to first-place Langara Friday in Vancouver, then were handled 81-56 by Douglas on Saturday. Now with a 4-9 record, they are a game back of four teams tied for fourth place, and just two games off the pace of the third-place (6-7) Quest Kermodes.
“This was a very rough weekend for us on the road,” said Eagles coach Stefon Wilson “We did not shoot the ball well. I thought we received the same looks that we get every game night but they just did not fall for us this weekend.”
Langara, now with a 12-1 record, led from start to finish Friday, and went up 33-22 after the first quarter, and 56-28 by halftime.
Ali Bosir and Aaron Ram accounted for almost three-quarters of the Eagles scoring, netting 27 points each. Ram was six-of-11 from the three-point line, while Bosir was the top rebounder with nine.
Kwantlen again struggled offensively Saturday in New Westminster, and fell behind 17-11, 35-23 and 53-38 at the quarter breaks.
Chris Arcangel with 14 points and Tristan Gruenthaler with 13 paces the Eagles.
With eight games remaining on each of their schedules, the two Eagles teams will be at home for six of them.
The Camosun Chargers are the visitors at Kwantlen Polytechnic University Friday night, with the women tipping off at 6 p.m. and the men following at 8 p.m.
On Saturday afternoon, the Vancouver Island Mariners are the opponents for games at 1 p.m. (women) and 3 p.m. (men).