The Lakeland Rustlers Women's Basketball team played host to the Grande Prairie Wolves over the weekend, in what would be the final games of the first semester for both teams. The Rustlers were looking to put themselves in a good position heading into the second semester, while the Wolves were looking for their first win of the season.
Friday night, the Rustlers came out strong on both ends of the floor. The Rustlers held the Wolves to just nine points in the first quarter, while scoring 25 of their own, taking a 16-point lead into the second. The Wolves started to knock down shots in the second quarter, but the Rustlers never allowed them to gain momentum. At the half, the Rustlers extended their lead to 41-21. In the third quarter, the Rustlers continued to stretch their lead, holding the Wolves to nine points again defensively. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Rustlers led 56-30. The Rustlers struggled on both ends of the court in the fourth quarter but still held on to come away with the 65-46 win.
Second-year forward Bilge Topaloglu led the Rustlers with 11 points, ten rebounds and three assists off the bench, while second-year guard Kaitlyn Tonita added ten points, ten rebounds, two assists, two steals. Player of the Game for the Rustlers was second-year guard Hailey Somers with nine points, three steals, a rebound, and an assist.
Both teams got off to a slow start Saturday afternoon, with the Rustlers leading 13-7 after the first quarter. The Rustlers began to click offensively in the second quarter, getting out in transition and knocking down shots from behind the arc. At the half, the Rustlers had extended their lead to 37-14. The Wolves found ways to score in the second half, increasing their scoring output from the first half. The Rustlers hit a couple of big three-pointers in the third quarter to stop the Wolves run, and took a 63-31 into the fourth quarter. Despite the large deficit they were facing, the Wolves continued to fight in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Rustlers 20-14 in the final ten minutes. Even though they were outscored in the fourth quarter, the Rustlers large lead helped them to come away with the 77-51 win.
The Rustlers were led by fourth-year forward Brianne Hergott with 18 points and 11 rebounds, earning her Player of the Game. Third-year guard Ally Pilgrim had 12 points, six rebounds, two steals and an assist, while fourth-year guard Taiya Paylor had eight points for the Rustlers off the bench.
The Rustlers finished the first semester with a 7-5 record, tying them for 3rd in the ACAC North Division. The Rustlers return to the court January 12th and 13th, as they take on the Concordia Thunder (8-4).