EDMONTON (February 11, 2012) -- Part eagle and part lion, griffins are fictional animals from Greek mythology.
But these Griffins are the real deal, says Donovan Martin.
Saturday night in Edmonton, Martin's SAIT Trojans posed one of the final obstacles in the Grant MacEwan University Griffins' quest for a perfect season in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women's basketball. Final score? MacEwan 78, SAIT 61.
"This was a really good team we played," said Martin, the Trojans' fifth-year head coach. "They shot the ball extremely well, and we weren't able to play good enough defence to stop them.
"Until we improve our defence enough to the point where we can hold down their shooting, we're going to have trouble with this team."
The Trojans, who've already locked down third place in the ACAC's South Division, fall to 11-6. They'll wrap up their regular-season schedule on Friday, Feb. 17 by meeting the Mount Royal University Cougars (14-3) on MRU's Kenyon Court turf, starting at 6 p.m.
The Griffins improve to 18-0 with two games left on their own regular-season docket.
Saturday's game was the second in two nights during a weekend road trip that saw the Trojans play Friday in Fort McMurray against the Keyano College Huskies, but "we had lots of zip in our legs," said Martin. "It's not as though we were particularly slow tonight, or anything like that."
Saturday night, SAIT scoring star Rachel Caputo (4th year, Edmonton, new media production and design), the ACAC's top point producer, nailed down another 26 - "she played out of her mind," remarked Martin - while also engineering six steals. Post Kaitie Beard (3rd year, Sherwood Park, Alta., emergency medical responder) was the Trojans' second-most prolific player, with a dozen.
Post Kalie Seidlitz (1st year, Regina, chemical engineering technology) was the top SAIT battler under the basket, with seven rebounds. The Griffins shot 56 per cent in the first half, finishing at 46 per cent, while the Trojans achieved a 39-per-cent success ratio.
The visitors lost the rebounding battle by a 42-34 count. Down 42-31 at the break, SAIT was outscored by just six in the second half.
"We outplayed them in many respects. There were lots of positives," said Martin. "But we've got to rebound better. We've got to box out better. And we've got to be able to defend the dribble penetration from the perimeter."