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A Familiar Foe Upsets CMU To Take A Fifth Title In Women’s Basketball

The only team to defeat the Blazers this year in conference play did it again on Sunday afternoon as the Red River Rebels claimed their the 2016 MCAC Women's Basketball Championship on home court.

CMU entered Final Four weekend boasting a near perfect 11-1 regular season record and cruised into the big game after their swarming full-court defense eliminated the fourth place College Wesmen, 67-22 in Saturday's semifinal. In the other semi, the Rebels were pushed by the third-seed Providence and only a flawless second half allowed the defending champions to come from behind to knock off the Pilots 58-45 and book their place in the final.

The story of the Championship was rebounding, timely shot-making, press-breaking and physicality; making for a memorable Women's Final where both teams left everything on the floor. The two rivals exchanged leads on four occasions in the first half. Raven Boulanger held a hot-hand for the Rebels early in the game as she gave the Rebels a 24-19 lead on her second three-point basket of the first half, for six of her game-high 15 points.

Trailing by six at the half 31-25, three CMU rookies stepped up in the second half in an effort to bounce the Blazers back into the game. 5'2 Mobina Mosallat has come on like gangbusters in the second half of the season. The former Fort Richmond Collegiate guard was the first line of pressure for the Blazers defence and used her quickness to cash in 4 steals in the game. However, Mosallat's game has seen it's biggest improvement is on the scoreboard, where in the Championship Final the first-year shot 3 for 4 from 3-point range and was like a magnet on the glass, snatching 10 rebounds. Mosallat's final 3-pointer cut the Rebels lead to four early in the fourth quarter, 47-43.

Lindsay Young and Shannon Boyd scored key baskets and grabbed critical rebounds to restore the margin to 11 points before Rhianna Nelson and Kristiann Leighton shot the deficit down to seven with under five minutes remaining. Nelson had a strong second half for CMU, scoring 14 points and leading her team with 5 steals, while Leighton was prominent in the paint on both ends of the court. The 5'10 Sisler product recorded 3 blocked shots, 7 points and 2 steals before picking up her fifth foul late in the game.

It was evident that there would be no comeback, when Young, who would later be selected as the Championship's Most Valuable Player iced the game by scoring two free throws with 44 seconds left on the clock as the Rebels defeated CMU for the second time this season in the game that mattered the most, taking home their fifth consecutive MCAC Women's Basketball banner.

A tough way to end a season that saw CMU emerge as the top team in MCAC Women's Basketball through the regular season for first time since the Blazers captured their last conference banner in 2010. Di Curzio's team held a winning streak of 9 games that stretched from November 6th to February 5th and lead the MCAC is total baskets, steals, three-point and field goal percentage, and bench scoring.

 

 

 

 

Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association