By John DeCoste
Now that's more like it.
The Acadia Axewomen team that won the Atlantic championship showed up for their consolation semifinal game against the top-ranked Regina Cougars Sunday at the CIS Final Eight in Calgary.
And while the Axewomen ended up dropping a 87-84 decision, they went basket-for-basket for 40 minutes with a Regina team that had topped the nation's weekly rankings pretty much all season, and left no doubt they belonged in the Final Eight field.
Facing elimination following a lopsided 94-46 loss to Windsor the previous evening, Acadia dug deep against Regina, playing with authority and scoring the game's first nine points.
The Cougars were able to come back for an 18-16 lead after one quarter, but Acadia started the second quarter strong and rode an inspired performance to a 43-36 halftime advantage. The only negative was both Emma and Abbey Duinker were in foul trouble.
After the intermission, Regina started strong, helped along by both Abbey and Emma picking up their third fouls and having to take a seat on the bench. Both Abbey and Lindsay Harris would end up fouling out in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars ended up winning the third quarter 25-15 to take a three-point lead, 61-58 after three quarters. Regina was able to hold onto that advantage the rest of the way, as the teams each scored 26 points in the fourth quarter.
The proof Acadia was on its game was five Axewomen finished in double figures in scoring, led by Kristy Moore's 19 points. Emma Duinker added 17, and Jasmine Parent chipped in 17 off the bench. Stefanie Chapman added 14 and Abbey Duinker 13 to go along with 11 rebounds.
Acadia shot 39.5 per cent for the game and made eight three-pointers.
In an entertaining and well-played game, Regina also had five players in double figures, led by Lindsay Ledingham's 19 points. Joanne Zalesiak had 17, Danielle Schmidt 15, Brittany Read 11 and Alyssia Kajati 10 for the Cougars, who finished with a huge 60-41 edge in rebounding.
The loss ended Acadia's season with an 0-2 record at nationals, and marked the last appearance in an Acadia uniform for Emma Duinker, Jasmine Parent, Stefanie Chapman and Kathleen McIver.