Kodiaks open championship pursuit with win over Lakeland

March 2, 2017 - A good-sized crowd in the Val Matteotti Gymnasium greeted the hometown Lethbridge College Kodiaks (21-0) in the final game of the opening day of the RE/MAX 2017 ACAC Women’s Basketball Championship.

Facing the fourth-seed from the north division, the Lakeland Rustlers (12-12), the Kodiaks never trailed as they kept their perfect ACAC season intact, winning 91-35.

It took the Kodiaks a while to get the offense humming early on, but five straight points by Leah Ekubazgi late in the opening quarter helped Lethbridge to a 17-7 lead after 10 minutes. The Kodiaks played a stifling defensive game in the second quarter, holding Lakeland to just two points. Meanwhile, they opened things up on the offensive end late, scoring 10 points in the final minute, including a buzzer-beating three pointer by ACAC south division first team all-star Sunder West from just inside the midcourt line, to lead 38-9 at the half.

West carried that momentum over into the third quarter, scoring 15 points in the period to push Lethbridge’s lead to 68-17. West led the Kodiaks with 28 points, including going six-for-nine on three pointers. Emma Lowry added 15 points and Leah Ekubazgi had 14 for the Kodiaks. Shania Magnussen led the Rustlers with eight points. The Kodiaks advance to an all-south division final four as they’ll play SAIT in a semifinal at 8 p.m. on Friday. Lakeland will face Concordia in consolation play at 3 p.m.

Players of the game:       

Lakeland - #6 Tayia Paylor (3pts, 5reb, 1ast) 

Lethbridge - #8 Sunder West (28pts, 6 3pt, 4reb)

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You can read recaps of each game of the RE/MAX 2017 ACAC Women's Basketball Championships at the tournament's official web page