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Warkentine Just in Time
Melanie Warkentine scores 9 in OT to lead Lady Freemen to 1st win of season
After starting the season with three straight losses the Lady Freemen headed into their first NCCAA regional games hoping to end their slump.
The weekend started with a Friday night 63-28 loss to the hosting Trinity Bible College Lions in a game that saw Providence lose their leading scorer Sonia Radi (15.3 ppg) to injury. With the result and a key injury the Lady Freemen appeared destined to leave the weekend still searching for a way to get out of the loss column. However, Saturday’s rubber match against the Lions presented a different outcome as the Lady Freemen played inspired ball and fought for a 55-51 overtime victory.
“We came straight off the bus and were not able to brush away our nerves for our first game of the semester,” Lady Freemen head coach Patti Parker said. “However, after reflection and preparing mentally for our next game, the team came into the second game highly motivated.”
Friday night’s match-up saw the Lady Freemen coming out looking tentative with their team play and on-court decisions, and the Trinity Bible College Lions took full advantage. Led by a 14 point first half performance from freshman Sonia Radi, the Lady Freemen were able to stay within striking distance of the Lions heading into the half. However, the game’s momentum took a huge shift shortly into the second as Radi went down with a sprained ankle, leaving Providence without their key playmaker and points getter.
The Lady Freemen continued to battle, and were led by the tenacity of their bigs as sophomore Amanda Franz (11 reb), senior Jill Reimer (10 reb) and freshman Charlotte Dean (9 reb) combined for 30 rebounds. However, in the end the Lions were too much for Providence as they took the game 63-28.
Providence then entered Saturday’s re-match with the Lions looking for the answer to solve their four game losing streak. That’s where freshman Melanie Warkentine came in.
The Lady Freemen headed into the half with an 11-point deficit in a game that seemed to mirror the match-up a night earlier. However, Providence was able to start finding their groove at the right time and slowly chipped away at the Lions’ lead. With time running out and the Lady Freemen still behind, Warkentine stepped up and delivered two clutch 3-pointers to send the game into a five-minute overtime.
The overtime featured a rare event, as the Lions got into enormous foul trouble and were forced to play the last three minutes with only four players. The Lady Freemen then saw their chance to capitalize on their opportunity, and, led by a 9 point overtime outpouring from Warkentine (26 pts, 5 reb), did just that taking the game--their first win of the season--with a 55-51 final score.
Following Saturday’s game, coach Parker was impressed with her squad’s improvement since day one of training camp, and was left particularly pleased by her team’s ability to both respond to a key injury and fight from an 11-point deficit.
“The girls stayed strong and maintained focus (following Friday night’s loss)”, coach Parker commented. “We chipped away in the third quarter to make a remarkable comeback, then played back-and-forth basketball in the final quarter, and earned our first win of the season.”
Notes: The Lady Freemen’s next match-up is Friday, January 15 in Winnipeg against Red River College…Amanda Franz earned a double-double Saturday with 11 points and 16 rebounds…Warkentine’s 26 points was a season-high for Lady Freemen scorers…Senior Jill Reimer almost accomplished the rare rebound/assist double-double Saturday afternoon with 13 rebounds and 7 assists…Freshman Sonia Radi is expected to be out 2-3 weeks.
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