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Blues secure top two finish in PACWEST

Photo Tae Hoon Kim / Capilano University
Photo Tae Hoon Kim / Capilano University

CJ Pentland, CapU Sport Information Director

Looking to secure a top-two finish in the regular season standings, the Capilano University Blues women's basketball team persevered with a 67-52 victory over the Okanagan College Coyotes on Friday night in North Vancouver, making it eight wins in a row for the Blues. The victory also guarantees CapU a first round bye at the PACWEST Championships in two weeks’ time.

CapU started the contest with a 17-4 run, giving them a healthy lead that proved pivotal when their offence hit a bit of a lull in the second and third quarters. Leading 22-9 after the first quarter, the Blues shot just 5-of-19 from the floor and 1-7 from three in the second frame, but their defence stepped up to hold the Coyotes to marks of 5-for-18 and 0-of-7 to take a 35-19 lead into halftime.

Okanagan continued to chip away at their deficit out of the break, as their zone forced the Blues into turnovers and helped them get to within 10 early in the fourth. But the Blues found answer, as they started to find gaps in the zone and hit their jumpers down the stretch to re-establish a comfortable lead.

"We locked down second place which is a positive, but we had a few breakdowns today, especially offensively," said head coach Chris Weimer. "We'll talk about taking care of the ball a bit better, and a lack of communication heading down the floor which resulted in a lot of the turnovers and the mix-ups. I thought our defence was pretty good for the first three quarters, but we got a bit sloppy in the fourth."

Four Blues scored in double-figures and two posted double-doubles as part of another balanced effort. Sherrie Errico had 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and a 3-of-5 mark from beyond the arc, and Reiko Ohama posted 15 to go along with three assists. Mackenzie Smith and Alessia Brutto both reached double-figures for points and rebounds, with Smith posting 12 and 12 and Brutto tallying 11 and 10.

"We shot the ball pretty well. Reiko again was phenomenal, playing solid defence, getting to the rim and getting to the free throw line, and you expect that from her," said Weimer. "Kirsten Abo had some good minutes after starting today, which was a big positive for us to have her come in and get some more experience."

The win improves CapU to 13-4 on the season and guarantees them second place in the conference standings, which will give them an automatic bye to the semifinals of the PACWEST Championships, hosted by Douglas College from February 28 to March 1. The Blues will close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon when they’ll once again square off with Okanagan at 1:00pm at the Centre for Sport and Wellness.