NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

Geordie Carragher
Olds College Sports Information
March 16, 2019

QUEBEC CITY - The Olds College Broncos women's basketball team went into the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Women's Basketball National Championship with one purpose.

On Saturday night, their mandate became a reality, and history was made.

In front of a pro-Quebec crowd, the Broncos never lost their focus from the moment they stepped on the court, taking the early lead and never looking back en route to a 74-69 victory over the tournament host Dynamiques de Cegep Sainte-Foy, capturing the first CCAA championship in any sport for the Broncos.

Brittney Thibeaux (Lake Villa, Ill.) once again led the charge for the Broncos, putting up a dynamic 30 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and three blocks as she rose to the occasion when it mattered most.

Kyla Adams (St. Paul, Minn.) put together her strongest game of the tournament on Saturday as well, putting up 18 points and nine rebounds while Kristina Bajovic (Belgrade, SRB) maintained her consistent offensive touch with 17 points of her own.

The Broncos were dominant on the glass, outrebounding the Dynamiques 44-41 while scoring 21 points off rebounds to Sainte-Foy's four.

For the host Dynamiques, Gabrielle Cloutier used five three-pointers to fuel a 20-point night, while Sabrine Khelifi had a strong all-around game with 13 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

With the home crowd chanting feverishly for Sainte-Foy to pull off another national championship on home court as they did 10 years ago, the Broncos were able to tune out the noise and get off to a good start, pushing ahead 7-3 in the early going before ultimately taking a 21-14 lead through the first quarter.

Olds College continued pushing in the second quarter, though Sainte-Foy kept pace the majority of the way to keep it close as the Broncos took a 37-29 lead into halftime.

After a strong start to the second half, Adams got into foul trouble with her fourth personal, as did Michaela Allen-Gullion (Calgary, Alta.), forcing the Broncos to employ a few different looks in the third quarter. As a result, Sainte-Foy gained momentum and pushed back to cut Olds College's lead to 55-51 with 10 minutes to play, only for the Broncos to respond with an 8-0 run to open the fourth to stretch the lead to 12.

After Adams fouled out early in the fourth, Broncos head coach Avery Harrison turned to rookie Meghan Swartz (Brooks, Alta.) to play the crucial final stretch, and she filled in admirably with two points and three rebounds in that stretch.

The Dynamiques made one final push late, cutting the Broncos lead to 72-69 in the final 10 seconds of play. However, crucial free throws and offensive rebounding from Thibeaux and Alli Taylor (Okotoks, Alta.) finally wrapped it up for the Broncos.

Thibeaux wrapped up a magical week in Quebec City by being named the tournament's most valuable player; on Wednesday night, she was named the CCAA Women's Basketball Player of the Year. Meanwhile, both Adams and Bajovic earned places on the First All-Tournament Team.

The Broncos will look for a repeat next March, when Vancouver Island University will host the 2020 CCAA Women's Basketball National Championship in Nanaimo, B.C.