Cold Wolves lose to Eagles Friday; heat up for rematch
The Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves women's basketball team came out cold.
Considering they had just endured a five-hour ride from Grande Prairie to Edmonton on a bus with no heat, no one could have blamed them if they were a little slow off the hop when they clashed with the King's College University Eagles last weekend.
That chilly bus ride ultimately set the table for a 76-58 setback Friday night, but the Wolves were able to heat up their offence in the rematch Saturday, outgunning the Eagles 70-64 for their fifth straight weekend split, giving them a 5-5 record in the ACAC North Division.
Head coach Kim Gravengard was happy to see her charges rebound Saturday to salvage the split.
"Driving down with the bus at 42 degrees, it was a little bit chilly to get ourselves warmed up for the game," said Gravengard. "But they did the best they could to come out and get ready to play. You have to adapt to those situations because sometimes those kind of things come up and you have nothing that can change it."
Still, there were some hot spots for the Wolves after the bone-chilling ride as the visitors outscored the Eagles in the second and and third quarters.
But some laser precision from the three-point line – in particular from Eagles guard Stacey Sperling – made the difference in the first and fourth quarters as Kings rolled to the win.
"They shot 56 per cent from the three-point in Friday's game," said Gravengard. "The girls were playing good defence, but it was just tough to stop. When a team like that gets the momentum your two points just don't match up when one player has made 15 points from the three-point line. That's a big gap from one person and they had two of them shooting the lights out like that. We just didn't come out ready to play. We came out a little flat and we weren't quite adapt to their game."
Saturday the Wolves managed to contain the Eagles' prowess from the three-point line.
Rebounding from a loss on the road has not been a problem thus far for the Wolves.
"I'm sure what it is, but on the road we're by far better on Saturday," said Gravengard. "We come out and they just decided they're not going home with nothing. They played well."
The Wolves' roster took a hit early in Saturday's game when guard Erin Slemp rolled her ankle 90 seconds into the tilt and was relegated to the sidelines.
"We really had to do a lot of adapting and it showed how much the team pulled through together and decided they were going to win," said Gravengard. "That's what they did, from our posts to our guards to the wings to the bench, everybody just stepped it up a notch and did their jobs."
The loss of Slemp opened the door for the Wolves to toss first-year forward Lenka Rohova into the action.
"She's a very talented player, but she has to adjust. The game is a bit different here as to how they play there," Gravengard of the first-year Wolf who hails from Bratislava, Slovakia. "We had her playing at post and a little bit on the wing and with Erin going down we thought it was as good a time as any to get her out and used to playing wing.
"We had Jen (Seeman) on the post and Kristi Ciura down low. We had Lenka on the wing. We had Melissa (Buhler) out top and Jaelle (Duinker) and that gives you a solid and tall line. That's hard to defend in this league."
The Wolves are back home this weekend for a two-game homestand against the 3-7 Augustana University College Vikings, a homestand that also doubles as Alumni Weekend