The Olds College Broncos (15-5) played one of their most complete games of the season Friday evening in Olds, taking down the first place SAIT Trojans (16-4) 77-69 for their seventh straight win and 17th in their past 19 games.
Although the Broncos trailed the Trojans in the standings coming into the game, the CCAA national rankings put the Broncos at #8 and the Trojans at #9 this past week. With the Broncos win on Friday evening the first seed in the ACAC Championship will come down to the final regular season game of the year tomorrow at SAIT at 6 P.M.
The Broncos came out flying in the first quarter against the top team in the southern division. Brittney Thibeaux, who came into the game needing 14 field goals to break the ACAC single season field goal record, was well on her way in the first quarter.
Early on SAIT's gameplay dictated a "feed the beast" mentality from the Broncos, taking advantage of a mismatch under the hoop. Thibeaux was covered in the post by just one Trojan defender as the visitors struggled to play help-side D, allowing Thibeaux to shoot 6-9 from the floor in the frame for 14 points. The Broncos would go into the second frame up 23-11.
The Trojans got back to their game in the second, tightening up defensively, only giving up three points to the Broncos in the first six minutes as they went on an 11-3 run.
However, the Broncos offense couldn't be put in check forever as the last four minutes saw the Broncos outscore SAIT 8-0 to head into the second half up 34-22.
The Broncos held the Trojans to just 27% shooting in the first half, compared to their 50%, led by Thibeaux who scored 20 points in the half on 9-13 shooting.
Michaela Allen-Gullion shot with confidence in the third quarter, making two three point shots, and then another statement shot from beyond the arc, strutting casually back to defend with the ball barely at its apex; there was no doubt about it as the Broncos went into the fourth quarter with a 56-42 lead.
Midway through the fourth quarter, with 13 Thibeaux field goals on the board, she would break the ACAC record on a very Thibeaux-esque shot. Fading away from the basket from in tight, Thibeaux would neatly convert her 200th field goal of the year.
The previous record holder was Dale Marie Cumberbatch who scored 199 field goals in the 2008-09 season; a season with 24 games compared to the current 22 game ACAC schedule.
The shot would put the Broncos back up ten, and eight would be as close as the Trojans would come as the Broncos claimed a 77-69 victory to lock up at least the second seed in the south going into next weekend's ACAC Championship.
Thibeaux led the Broncos with 38 points and 15 rebounds, claiming The Pit Player of the Game honours for the home squad while Alicia Tan received the honour for the Trojans, scoring 24 points on 6-12 shooting from the three point line.
The two squads will play their final regular season game tomorrow at SAIT, as the Broncos can steal away first place from the Trojans with a win.
- Brendan Stasiewich, Olds College Broncos Sports Information