By Eric Thompson
An incredible start for the Capilano Blues made all the difference in the first PACWEST Women’s Basketball Championship semifinal as they defeated the Camosun Chargers on Friday afternoon.
Mackenzie Smith scored six straight points to open the match as the Blues started the game on an 8-0 run. The Chargers made a few baskets and a free throw to get themselves back in it, but already leading by ten, Capilano went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter with a 26-6 lead.
After a rough first quarter, the Chargers rebounded well in the second. The Camosun defense was shaky at best through the first ten minutes, but was much more effective as the second quarter progressed, conceding a few early baskets but holding the Chargers to just 13 points in the quarter. Camosun improved dramatically on offense as well - Jasmine de Vries scored six points as the Chargers more than doubled their offensive output from the opening quarter.
Camosun played another excellent quarter coming out of halftime, putting up 24 points. Tessa Lannon-Paakspu, Camosun’s Player of the Game, made two quick layups to cut the lead to 15. The Blues rebounded, but Lannon-Paakspu hit two free throws in the dying seconds of the quarter to cut the lead to 17.
The Chargers were able to cut the lead to 12 points with 5 minutes remaining, and a hush fell over the crowd in anticipation of a possible repeat of the improbable comeback the Camosun men’s team made to win their quarterfinal game against the Langara Falcons on Thursday night, but this time Capilano was able to lock down the Chargers defensively in the final minutes and hit their own shots, holding on for an 84-64 win. Sherrie Errico, Capilano’s Player of the Game, hit an improbable circus shot with a minute left on the clock to seal the win for the Blues, as she finished just shy of a triple double with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.