Hoop Pandas dominate Pronghorns, now 14-1 on season

Pandas basketball continued to roll this past weekend, sweeping away the lowly Lethbridge Pronghorns with a pair of convincing wins, 75-53 on Friday night, and an 86-36 drubbing on Saturday night.

The green and gold started Friday’s game off well, outscoring the Pronghorns 20-11 in the first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

“Especially on the road, it’s important to get off to a good start,” head coach Scott Edwards said. “It was nice to see us performing well early and setting the pace for the game.”

Although the next three quarters were more competitive, the Pandas didn’t allow the home team to gain any ground, and ended with a comfortable 22-point victory. Elle Hendershot led the charge for the Pandas, both in scoring and on the glass, putting up a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Maddie Rogers was the only other Panda in double figures, scoring 10 points on the night.

Edwards credited his bench with performing well on Friday, as the reserves chipped in 31 points in total, with Sydney Kumar leading the way with nine points in just 10 minutes of action.

Saturday night’s victory was a complete win for the Pandas, as simultaneously allowed a season low in points while scoring a season high. Edwards was especially pleased with how his players played on the defensive side of the ball.

“It was nice to see, regardless of who was on the floor, that they executed well, communicated well, and just played as a unit,” he said.

Hendershot once again came through with her second consecutive double-double, this time scoring 19 points while shooting 80 per cent from the field, and pulling down 14 boards. Vanessa Wild had a strong showing off the bench as well, scoring 11 points in nine minutes of action, and going three for three from beyond the arc.

The Pandas now sit at 14-1 on the season, but thanks to the Saskatchewan Huskies, still sit in second place in the Pioneer division, thanks to the Huskies’ 14-0 record. Despite this, Edwards maintained the Pandas are still more focused on their game than what other teams are doing.

“It’s my job to be on top of the league, and give (the players) a sense of who we play, but for them it’s all about focusing on Trinity Western next weekend,” he said.

The Pandas matchup with Trinity Western will be a tough one, despite their lacklustre 4-10 record, according to Edwards.

“For us it’s a really big test,” Edwards said. “They’re a really big team, they’re athletic, and they shoot the (three-pointer) really well.”

The Pandas have already clinched a spot in Canada West playoffs, and their preparation for the postseason is already beginning, Edwards said.

“We need to really fight for everyone possession in practice to get a sense of the urgency that playoffs come with,” he said. “We’ve got three weeks of games left before playoffs, and this week is just another step for us.”

The Pandas will return home to face the Spartans this upcoming weekend, with games on Feb. 5 and 6 at 5 P.M. at the Saville Centre.

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