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Hezekiah crashes boards to beat Bisons

Faith Hezekiah had 19 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Winnipeg Wesmen past the Manitoba Bisons Saturday night. (Kelly Morton photo)
Faith Hezekiah had 19 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Winnipeg Wesmen past the Manitoba Bisons Saturday night. (Kelly Morton photo)

BY DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics

The Winnipeg Wesmen insist they aren't looking at the standings or monitoring win streaks.

So we'll do it for them.

The Wesmen women's basketball team won its ninth straight game Saturday and have now clinched a spot in the Canada West playoffs with four games still to play after a 75-58 win over the Manitoba Bisons at the Duckworth Centre.

Faith Hezekiah had 19 points and 18 rebounds for the Wesmen, who not only knocked off their intra-city rivals, but finished the season 4-0 against the province of Manitoba. Hezekiah averaged 20 points and 17.5 rebounds in the two-game home-and-home series, and helped the Wesmen outrebound the Bisons 46-39 on the night.

"I've got to be a leader in rebounding," Hezekiah said. "You can't just say it, you've got to walk the walk, as well. So personally I took it upon myself because I did let some of my (checks) get offensive rebounds and I took it very hard. So I just made it a point to box out and get rebounds."

VIDEO: Faith Hezekiah after another monstrous day on the boards

A night after going for 40 and 14, Antoinette Miller managed a game-high 22 points, along with eight assists and five steals. Skylar Boulanger also notched a double-double, her second of the season, with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Just like the night before when the Wesmen scored a blowout win at the U of M campus, the Wesmen flipped the switch in the third quarter, outscoring the Bisons 27-9 to wipe out a 35-33 halftime deficit.

"We've had a lot of good third quarters this year, but … this first half we weren't rebounding well, we weren't boxing out, so we just focused on that," Hezekiah said. "Our coaches do a great job of telling us what we're doing wrong and we just have to go out there and execute."

The Wesmen will now turn their focus to the league-leading Regina Cougars, who will host Winnipeg Jan. 26-27 for a battle of two of the conference's top teams.

Hezekiah said the team hasn't kept track of win streaks, and is instead content to play its game and let the results follow.

"Honestly I haven't really thought about the win streak at all and we haven't really mentioned it," she said. "We just go out there and take each game piece by piece and each quarter as it comes to us, and we just hope to continue … keep piling up wins."

Claire Harvey led three Bisons in double figures with 14 points. Emma Thompson added 13 and Nicole Konieczny 11.

The Wesmen held the Bisons to 25 per cent shooting on the night and the Bisons, who shot 12 more free throws than Winnipeg, were just 56 per cent from the free throw line, 15-for-27.