EDMONTON – Senior guard Vanessa Wild claimed a new team scoring record that stood for almost 40 years, eclipsing the total by former Pandas head coach and player Trix Baker, who scored 38 against UBC on January 30, 1981, en route to an 85-54 victory for the University of Alberta Pandas over the Mount Royal University Cougars, Friday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
The Spruce Grove, Alta. native scored a career-high 39 points from a dozen deuces, a trio of treys, and a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. The Business major also shot for 79% from the field and upended her own personal best, a 27-point performance against Saskatchewan earlier this year on January 26.
Fellow senior guard Megan Tywoniuk added 11 points while rookie forward Claire Signatovich earned a game-high 10 rebounds.
First-year forward Jenika Martens notched a team-high 17 points for the visitors in the loss.
The home team struggled early in the opening quarter, down 6-2 and not hitting their first basket from the floor until four minutes into the frame.
A quick 7-0 run got the Pandas ahead, only for Mount Royal to respond with a 7-0 run of their own to reclaim the lead.
Down by one entering the second quarter, Wild scored the home team’s first five points and didn’t look back, scoring 15 points in the frame, including a 6-for-7 run. The whole team subverted the first-quarter struggles as well, exploding for 28 points and shooting at 52% from the field to take an 11-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
Alberta didn’t let off the gas to start the third either, Wild making three consecutive layups en route to another 15-point quarter, fueling her squad’s second-straight 28-point quarter, this time Alberta shooting at 91% on 11 attempts, including a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond the arc.
After three quarters, the senior guard was already on the cusp of history with 34 points, getting a tough layup to go to tie the record with 8:11 left in the fourth frame.
Sophomore point guard Sarah Rinsky fouled Wild on the play, leading to her claiming the record from the free throw line with a perfect swish.
Up by 33 at this point in the game, the only remaining question for Alberta would be if Wild would become the first player in team history to record 40 points in a single game. The new team record holder re-entered the game about two minutes later, but after missing her next shot and committing a turnover, she returned to the bench with her name already etched into the record books.
The Pandas outrebounded the Cougars 52-33 and finished the game with a 51% shooting percentage from the field while Mount Royal only earned nine points in the final frame, ending with a 27% clip in the game.
Alberta, improving to 5-2, and the 2-3 Cougars complete the weekend series on Saturday at 5 p.m. MT.