By Eric Thompson
The Mariners were the more consistent team in the opening half, but the Blues showed flashes of brilliance. Sherrie Errico hit a three-point shot to tie the game at the start second quarter and electrify the significant contingent of Capilano fans in attendance, and later sunk two free throws to give the Blues their only lead of the half. In response, the Mariners put together an unbelievable 16-0 run to take a 14-point lead and silence the left side of the bleachers.
VIU dominated inside the paint in the first twenty minutes, putting up 28 points to Capilano’s 6. But Capilano was by far the better team from beyond the arc, hitting 5 of of 15 while VIU managed just 1 from 10. The three-point shot was what allowed them to cut the lead to 10 going into halftime, and the Blues immediately hit another three to start off the third quarter. That three was made by Reiko Ohama, and was the start of an eleven-point run culminating in another Ohama three to take the lead at 41-40. A Sherrie Errico layup with less than 20 seconds remaining would have given the Blues an eight-point lead—their largest—heading into the fourth quarter, but an unbelievable half-court buzzer-beater from Emma Platner cut the lead to five at the end of the final frame.
The fourth quarter was an absolute barn-burner as the two teams fought for PACWEST gold. The lead changed three times in under a minute early on in the quarter as Capilano and VIU traded layups, before the Mariners pulled firmly ahead on an Avery Snider and-1 layup that stretched the lead to nine. Capilano made it close, cutting the lead to as little as one point in the final minute, but couldn’t quite find a shot to go ahead or tie. The Mariners held on to capture their third PACWEST Women’s Basketball championship.
The Player of the Game for Capilano was Reiko Ohama, who had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Shayce Johnston earned the award for the Mariners with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks.
After the game, the Tournament All-Stars were announced. Camosun’s Tessa Lannon-Paakspuu, Capilano’s Reiko Ohama and Sherrie Errico, and VIU’s Shayce Johnston and Emma Platner earned the honours.
VIU’s Amber Lease was named the tournament MVP.