(HALIFAX, N.S.) The Memorial Sea-Hawks have advanced to Saturday's semifinals after topping the Saint Mary's Huskies 72-64 in a nail-biter Friday evening at the Scotiabank Centre.
The Sea-Hawks entered the Subway AUS Women's Basketball Championship as the No. 3 seed, while the Huskies were seeded sixth.
The Huskies got onto the board first, taking off to an early 4-0 lead. Saint Mary's continued to extend their lead, having as big as a 14-5 edge over Memorial with just four minutes remaining in the frame.
The Sea-Hawks began to climb their way back and came within three after two successful free throws from AUS first team all-star Haillie Nickerson (Grismby, Ont.) with the score at 14-11.
With just seconds remaining on the clock in the first quarter, a three-point shot from Alana Short (Barrie, Ont.) put the Sea-Hawks within two, and the Huskies held an 18-16 lead after 10 minutes of play.
Saint Mary's held their lead throughout the second, with the Sea-Hawks continuing to play catchup. A jump shot from Nickerson with just over two minutes remaining in the first half put the Sea-Hawks within two and the Huskies took a narrow 32-30 lead into halftime.
Nickerson tied things up 32-32 with two made free throws to kick off the second half. Shortly after, a layup from Cameron Longley (Hubbards, N.S.) gave Memorial their first lead of the night.
Things were neck-and-neck throughout the frame, and the Huskies led by just a point, 51-50, heading into the final frame.
Two minutes into the fourth, a three-point shot from Ines Salat Margarit (Barcelona, Spain) allowed Memorial to pull ahead, 53-52.
With the clock winding down, back-to-back threes from Short increased the Sea-Hawks lead, 60-52. However, the Huskies eyed the comeback, scoring eight unanswered points to put things within two.
With 30 seconds on the clock, Salat Margarit drained two free-throws, to put the Sea-Hawks up again. Memorial would not look back, as they outscored Saint Mary's 22-13 in the final quarter to hold on for the 72-64 victory.
Short, an AUS second team all-star, finished with a team-high 23 points on the night for the Sea-Hawks, while adding nine rebounds, two assists, three steals and three blocks to earn Subway Player of the Game honours.
Nickerson went a perfect 12-12 from the line and finished with 20 points.
The Huskies were led by Arianna Macias (Tampa, Florida), who finished with a game-high 27 points, adding six rebounds and three steals in the loss.
Memorial will now face the No. 2-seed Acadia Axewomen in the second women's semifinal Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Scotiabank Centre.