They say the journey up a mountain starts with the first step. If that’s the case, Dalhousie’s women’s basketball team took that first step out of the bottom of the league standings Jan. 21 with a resounding 73 – 58 win over the visiting UPEI Panthers.
The four point win raises the Tigers to a 3 – 7 record in the AUS, tied for sixth with St. FX. It is Dal’s first win since Nov. 18, ending a seven-game losing skid for the Tigers. Meanwhile, the Panthers were now alone in the league basement with a record of 2 – 10.
Although some may be quick to dismiss a win over a last-place team, Tigers head coach Anna Stammberger is not among them, emphasizing that “all teams in the league are competitive.” She went on to compliment her girls on their aggressive defence.
It was that smothering defence that was the lynchpin for the Tigers, harassing the Panthers all match and forcing them to a dismal 30 per cent shooting from the field.
Nowhere was that defence more apparent than the second quarter. After a tight first frame which saw the two teams separated by a single point at 19 – 18, the Tigers shut out the Panthers for the first five minutes of the second quarter, opening an 11-point edge the Tigers would not relinquish.
After that, it was all over but the shouting, and there was plenty of that to be heard—often directed at the referees. The game seemed almost arbitrarily called at times, causing Panthers head coach Carly Clarke to receive a technical foul late in the final quarter after a defensive foul on her team. After the game, Dal coach Stammberger said the officiating had “inconsistencies,” and that it was hard for the players to find a line to stay within.
The line the Tigers did find this game was straight to the hoop, shooting just over 40 per cent from the field. They were led by third-year guard and player of the game Anna von Maltzahn with 17 points. Von Maltzahn also added eight boards, a category in which she leads the AUS with an impressive 10.8 per game. She was backed up by third-year guard Keisha Brown, who shot aggressively all game, and wound up with 16 points.
The Panthers’ player of the game was second-year guard Amy Gough. She had 15 points. But with only one field goal, she scored the rest of her points thanks to a 13-for-14 shooting effort from the free throw line.
The Tigers return home after a Jan. 27 match on the road to welcome St. FX to the Dalplex on Jan. 29. Game time is 2 p.m.