By: Liam Berti & Rory MacDonald-Gauthier

Thunder co-captain Abeer Farhat runs out of options after being heavily defended by Kathleen McCann and another STU player. Farhat, a graduating player, played her last game in the Thunder livery.

After entering the national championship weekend with an undefeated record, the Algonquin Thunder women’s basketball team has been sent home empty-handed following a 64-47 loss to the second-seeded St. Thomas University Tommies.

STU dominated almost every statistical category en route to the lopsided win, with all but one player on the team registering a point. After a slow second-quarter, the speed, skill and depth of the Tommies was too much for the Thunder to overcome.

The Tommies scored early and often while the Thunder had their lowest-scoring game of the entire season, converting on only 26 per cent of their field goal attempts. Tommies’ veterans Hilary Goodine and Laura Anderson led the attack with 11 points each.

“That’s just how we play, we’re very much built on ball pressure,” said Tommies head coach Fred Connors. “We tend to go on runs and we went on a good one and fortunately it was enough to control the game.”

Veteran Thunder forward Sandre Bascoe was the one bright spot for Algonquin, who registered a double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Bascoe was named Thunder MVP in team’s tournament finale.

“She wanted it badly and she played to her top level,” said Thunder head coach John MacInnis. “It’s that kind of mentality I wish I could bottle up and give to the rest of the team for the game. It’s encouraging to see how much she cares and how much she wanted it.”

After getting off to a hot start, the Thunder quickly lost their rhythm and played their weakest first-half of the tournament. Algonquin only managed to score four points in the second-quarter, converting on only 23 per cent of their shots from the field while the Tommies ran away with the lead.

The second half saw much of the same with STU taking advantage of a flat Thunder team. The Tommies outscored, out-rebounded and controlled the tempo of the game on both sides of the ball, digging a deep hole that the Thunder couldn’t get out of.

“The game got away from us a little bit in the second quarter and we thought we could chip away, but they really pulled too far away,” said MacInnis. “We were down by 13 and we never really recovered from that. They had a good game plan to deal with some of our players and we didn’t respond like we needed to.”

Thunder veterans Sarah Ferguson and Stacey Poapst congratulate the STU Tommies on their advancement to the bronze medal game. The Tommies now face the high-flying Olds Broncos for third place.

Third-year Thunder guard Stacey Poapst, who made her return to the lineup after sustaining a back injury in the first game of the tournament, made her presence felt immediately. Poapst led both teams with six blocks while putting up six points and eight rebounds in just over 15 minutes of court time.

The Thunder’s typical three-point success was nowhere to be found against the Tommies, going 1-for-21 from beyond the arc. On the other hand, the Tommies dominated the long shot category, draining seven three-pointers on 22 attempts.

“We knew that we had to take away that three-point line because it’s an emotional boost for them as well,” said the STU coach Connors. “I thought we did a good job of keeping them out of rhythm from shooting the ball, but they did get some clean looks that didn’t go down which is uncharacteristic for them.”

The Tommies now advance to the bronze medal game for the third time in as many years. They will tip off against the Olds Broncos and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association player of the year, Jylisa Williams, who is coming off a 42-point performance.

“It’s our third year going into this so we have an idea of how to get ready for this,” said Connors. “They know how we’re going to play, we know how they’re going to play, but we’re hoping that our depth is going to carry us through.”