CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director / Photos Paul Yates, Vancouver Sports Pictures; Capilano University
With a gold medal and a berth at CCAA Nationals on the line, the Capilano University Blues fell behind the Douglas College Royals in the second quarter of Saturday’s PACWEST Provincial final and couldn’t claw their way back, falling 70-63 and ending their season with a silver medal.
In the fourth meeting of these teams this season, both teams allowed little space for their opponent on defence. Douglas aimed to limit Cap’s three-point shooting – which they did, as the Blues failed to score from beyond the arc in the opening quarter – but the play of Karyn Nelson and Carmelle M’Bikata in the paint helped give CapU team an early lead. Douglas responded with strong play inside as well, and the first quarter ended with the score tied at 17.
M’Bikata, the PACWEST Player of the Year, ran into foul trouble in the second frame, and the Royals took advantage of her absence by going on a 14-4 run to build up a double-digit lead. Douglas took over on the offensive boards, grabbing 12 in the first half and scoring 14 second-chance points. The Blues made a late push to cut into the deficit, as eight points from Reiko Ohama in the final four minutes of the half made it 36-32 after 20 minutes.
The Capilano offence again went cold out of the break, as the Blues didn’t score their first points of the second half until the 2:45 mark of the frame. While the Royals didn’t score for the first four minutes of the quarter, they were still able to take advantage and open up a 13-point lead.
With Douglas up by 11 after three quarters, Capilano opened up the final frame with a 6-0 run to keep the game close. Ddespite the Blues shooting a low percentage, the play of Nelson and M’Bikata on the offensive boards kept several plays alive, and Cap closed the lead down to three. Yet with the score 61-58 and 2:20 left in the game, the Blues went cold from the field at couldn’t get any closer.
The Royals made their free throws down the stretch, and were able to close out a 70-63 victory tto give them their first Provincial title since 1993. For Capilano, it is the second straight year that they have finished second at provincials.
Douglas’s game plan to limit Cap’s three-point shooting proved effective, as the Blues shot just 20.0% from beyond the arc 30.8% from the field. Cap also struggled from the free throw line, shooting only 45.8%.
Ohama led Capilano with 19 points in the contest, while M’Bikata had 16 points and 16 rebounds. Nelson also had a double-double with 12 and 13.
Rachel Beauchamp, the Tournament MVP from Douglas, led her team with 15 points and 16 rebounds, nine of which came on the offensive end.
M’Bikata and Nelson were named Tournament All-Stars for Capilano.