(HALIFAX, N.S.) The Acadia Axewomen will be headed to the AUS championship final for the third season in a row after defeating the UPEI Panthers 87-84 on Saturday afternoon at the Scotiabank Centre.
Haley McDonald (Port Williams, N.S.) set a new AUS record for the most points scored in a single game with 51, breaking a 42-year old record. She also added four rebounds and two assists on the night, earning Subway Player of the Game honours.
The first quarter opened with the two teams going shot for shot, until the Axewomen began to take off scoring six unanswered points to hold a 16-10 lead with under five remaining in the frame.
The Panthers looked to catch up to the Axewomen lead late in the first, as two successful free throws from Lauren Fleming (Sussex, N.B.) put them within three, 25-22. However, two free throws from McDonald allowed the Axewomen to hold a 27-22 edge after 10 minutes of play.
McDonald led the Axewomen with a massive 15 points in the first quarter.
Just 20 seconds into the second frame, Reese Baxendale (Sussex, N.B.) was called for the and-one play, picking up three points to bring the Panthers within two. However, UPEI was unable to catch Acadia, as the Axewomen held onto their edge to lead 43-34 lead at halftime.
McDonald drained a three to open the scoring in the third, putting Acadia ahead 46-34. She posted three three-pointers in the third quarter, and finished with 15 points in the frame.
The Panthers looked for the comeback late in the third, as they trailed 60-53 with under four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Acadia held a 10-point lead, 68-58, heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
With the Panthers looking for the comeback in the fourth, a three-point play from Jenna Mae Ellsworth (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) allowed them to pull within six of the Axewomen.
However, the Panthers were unable to complete the comeback, falling 88-84.
Ellsworth led UPEI in the loss, posting 28 points and adding four rebounds.
The Axewomen now advance to the AUS women's basketball finals, where they will face the Memorial Sea-Hawks at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon at the Scotiabank Centre.