Women’s Basketball News

Second-team All-Canadian Léa-Sophie Verret had a game-high 18 points and hit a dagger and-one layup with a minute left as the fourth-seeded Laval Rouge et Or defeated the #5 Alberta Pandas 65-57 in an exciting quarterfinal Thursday night at the Saville Centre.

Schedule & Results

Verret was a key contributor in the victory for the still undefeated Rouge et Or, but she got help in spades from Brinly Holt and Florence Fortin who both hit multiple threes and a Laval team that cumulatively shot 82.4% from the line (14/17). A major factor in the game was the difference from the stripe, as Alberta shot just 46.2% on 13 attempts.

“A couple keys stops for us tonight were huge. Our team really fought hard. We knew the Pandas would be well-prepared,” said Rouge et Or head coach Guillaume Giroux. “Not a cute game, but a really hard-fought battle between two very good basketball teams.”

Jayden Tanner was phenomenal for the Pandas, scoring a team-high 13 points and adding three rebounds, two assists and a steal in the loss. Two-time defending U SPORTS Defensive Player of the Year Claire Signatovich recorded seven rebounds and three blocks in her effort to slow the Laval offence.

#5 Alberta now goes on to face #8 Calgary in the Consolation Semifinals tomorrow evening at 7PM MST, while Laval will now face the top-seeded Saskatchewan in the first championship Semifinal Saturday at 6:00 p.m. MST.

“In front of their loud crowd, we had to battle more for each possession,” said Giroux. “We knew this win would be tough, especially in front of the hostile crowd. But I’m proud of the girls for how they fought.”

 Behind a raucous Saville Centre crowd, the Pandas jumped out to an early 10-3 lead that featured five points and four rebounds from Claire Signatovich. Laval, however, was able to weather the early storm and respond with a 12-7 run to finish a hotly contested frame with a small 2-point lead for the hosts. Léa-Sophie Verret led all scorers with six for Laval, including two threes, while the Pandas saw five from Signatovich and Morgan Harris.

The second was just as competitive, as both sides were able to respond to small momentum changes to keep the game tight coming down the stretch, but the Rouge et Or were able to finish on a 12-3 run to head into the break with a 31-30 lead. Laval was able to leverage their three-point shooting over an Alberta interior defence that allowed the lowest 2P% in the country, hitting seven threes on 41.2% shooting while holding the Pandas to a 3/12 mark.

Laval came out of the half strong, going on an 8-2 run and generally controlling the momentum and the home crowd. After two straight threes to put the Rouge et Or up 45-32, the Pandas went on a 12-4 run of their own to cut their deficit to just five headed into the final quarter.

The teams were in lockstep for the majority of a close fourth quarter, and after a Reece Hall three the Pandas were within two with four minutes left. Alberta had a golden opportunity soon after to take the lead as they were sent to the line five times in quick succession but were unable to capitalize on any of them as Laval to maintained their lead. With clock down to a minute, and the Saville Centre rocking, Verret hit a tough and-one layup to put the Rouge et Or up by seven, a lead they would see through to the end to advance to the semifinals.

Boxscore

Players of the Game

Laval: #4 Léa-Sophie Verret

Alberta: #16 Jayden Tanner