Both St. Thomas University basketball teams came away with double-digit victories over the University of New Brunswick Saint John Seawolves on Feb. 20, with the women’s team winning 64-53 and the men’s team winning 78-68 in their last games of the regular season.
The teams hosted the Think Pink night for breast cancer awareness and their annual grad games. The women’s team honoured graduating player Lainy Dow and graduating manager Tiffany McLong, while the men’s team honoured graduating players Brandan Seagrave, Travis Valanne and Justin Grant.
The head coach of the women’s team, Fred Connors, said grad nights are always emotional.
“It’s a tough night … but [Dow] has such great character,” said Connors.
Men’s head coach Scott MacLeod had similar words.
“It’s hard for them on senior night. It’s emotional … everybody’s watching it … it all adds to the moment.”
The women’s team got off to a hot start, scoring the first eight points of the game with Bridgett Frazee knocking down two quick three-pointers. STU finished the opening quarter with a 21-10 lead. Their hot start cooled in the second quarter, as the Tommies struggled, only making three of their 20 shots. Lainy Dow, one of the captains of the team, was the only scorer of the second quarter for STU. The Tommies held a 29-22 lead at the half.
The rest of the game was evenly played with the Seawolves making a push to stay in playoff contention. The Seawolves cut the lead to six but STU finished the quarter with a 10-point lead. Another evenly played fourth quarter gave the Tommies the victory.
Dow was the leading scorer with 14 points. Madison Owens netted 11 while grabbing eight rebounds and led her team in assists with four.
“[Dow] played with a lot of character and a lot of heart. And she led us, which is what she does. I’m really proud of her,” said Connor.
The men’s team kept their playoff hopes alive with their win.
The Tommies found themselves down early, trailing 37-33 after the first half. Tommie Harrison Florean had a breakout performance, nearly posting a double-double after the first quarter and finishing the half with 16 points and 16 boards.
“He had a step-up game,” MacLeod said of Florean. “It was wonderful to see.”
Florean said it felt great and it was “good to get the win.”
The Tommies came into the second half with fire, finishing the quarter with an 18-4 run and taking a 60-52 lead to start the final quarter. In a tight fourth quarter, two baskets from Justin Grant and Carlo Theriault were too much for the Seawolves, giving the Tommies a 12-point lead before getting the win.
Florean finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds. He was also a force on the defensive end, recording four blocks and a steal. Guard Michael Otoo came off the bench to drop 15 points.
MacLeod said the team was prepared to get into playoffs.
“The guys knew that coming in that it was do or die.”