The King’s women’s season thus far can be defined by its games against league leader and local rival, MSVU. Two games into the new season, the Blue Devils suffered a 60-point haymaker loss to the Mystics on the road. While the loss to the Mystics, now ranked third nationally, wasn’t entirely unexpected, the nature of the loss was concerning. Fast forward two months to January and the narrative has changed markedly, at least on the King’s side. Meeting the Mount in their first game of the post-holiday season, the performance from the UKC women was unrecognizable when compared to the first semester’s game. Last fall, the Blue Devils ended the first quarter shellshocked and trailing 4-23. This time they started the game exceptionally, taking a 21-15 lead from the first interval and entered halftime trailing by only 4 points, one-tenth of their deficit at the half in the teams’ first meeting. King’s managed to hold the lead to six points through the third quarter, before an unflattering fourth allowed the scoreline to expand, with the Mount coming out with a 20-point win. MSVU’s Emily Holt posted a game high 27 points and 20 rebounds.
Aside from the striking improvement in the scoreline, the juxtaposition of individual performances is equally stark. The trio of Olivia Moreau, Lauren Ford and Nalini Maharaj (who scored two, seven, and zero in the first game at the Mount) exploded offensively, scoring 12, 10, and 16 respectively to bolster the ever-present productivity of Jenna Bain, who finished with a team high 25. It’s been a trial by fire for head coach Marika Williams & co. through the first few months of ACAA play, but Friday’s display indicates that the tide may be turning for the UKC women. A crucial upcoming game at Crandall, their first of the season, will have major implications for the Blue Devils postseason fate. Tied for fifth in the league, the series winner will jump to the 4-5 seeded match in the quarterfinals, and avoid the bottom seeded 3-6 game. King’s will then return to Halifax to host the UNBSJ Seawolves on Sunday afternoon. Both matches will be live streamed on ACAA.tv.
vs. MSVU, 71-91 Loss
@Crandall, January 21st 1 p.m.
vs. UNSBJ, January 22nd 2 p.m.
A heartbreaker for the Kingsmen at home, dropping their second game to the Mount and dropping to 1-7 on the season. Friday appeared to be the resurrection of UKC Men we’ve all been waiting for; leaping out to a 12-point lead in the first quarter in front of a packed home crowd. A resilient MSVU side led by Ty Murnaghan and Will Spaulding managed to drag the Mystics back into the game in the second, entering half leading by a single point. King’s surged again in the third, recapturing the lead, before a late flurry of scoring in the game’s closing minutes by MSVU propelled the visitors to a 82-87 win.
Like the UKC women, the Kingsmen are on the rise, but are still in search of that marquee win to shuffle up the ACAA standings. Head coach Luc Stevenson will take heart knowing that all seven of his players who played double-figure minutes also recorded double-figure scoring. The return of Sandrais Clayton, who tallied 10 points and nine assists in his first league game back with the Blue Devils, should serve as a catalyst for success alongside the cast of season veterans in Ethan Merlin, Josh Crocker, Geevon Janday, and Corson O’Rourke. The growing confidence of young guns Caleb Rennie and Brendan Morris is also cause for optimism. The freshman duo combined for 30+ points in their most recent outing and will have to continue to pull their weight alongside the senior players as the post season approaches. The Blue Devils will travel Saturday to Moncton to play the Crandall Chargers, who entered the weekend tied for second in the league alongside MSVU and St. Thomas; before returning home on Sunday to host the UNBSJ Seawolves. Both matches will be live streamed on ACAA.tv.
vs. MSVU 82-87 Loss
@Crandall, January 21st 3 p.m.
vs. UNBSJ, January 22nd 4 p.m.