RDC Queens forward Lauren Cardinal led the way for her team with 12 points in a 66-62 loss against the St. Mary’s University Lightning on Friday at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

RDC Queens edged late by St. Mary’s University Lightning

RDC Queens 62 St. Mary’s University Lightning 66

The RDC Queens tenacious defence was on full display in their first action after the Christmas break.

They took the defending Alberta Colleges Athletic Association champions down to the wire Friday but were edged 66-62 by the St. Mary’s University Lightning (5-4).

“I thought we did a lot of good things defensively. That’s a pretty good scoring team that didn’t score 20 points or more in the whole game in any quarter,” said Queens head coach Ken King, whose team forced 27 Lightning turnovers in the loss.

“I thought overall in the game, our defence was solid and our offence, there was a cap on the rim for probably the whole third quarter.”

RDC (1-8) led 33-32 at halftime but was outscored 19-12 in the third quarter and were never able to overcome the deficit.

Still, down nine points with three minutes to play, RDC battled back. Lauren Cardinal hit a putback to get the Queens within three with 30 seconds left.

After Cardinal missed a free throw, Sandra Garcia- Bernal picked up her 16th rebound of the game and Jessie Handley missed a three-pointer that would have tied the game.

“Even when we got to (within) five, we were talking about getting a quick, best possible shot. Lauren Cardinal did a great job of doing that and she gets that and one,” King said.

“Would have been nice to get that free throw. But that and-one, she’s showing her experience and why she’s our captain. I thought she played with a lot of poise today.”

Cardinal, the Queens captain led the way offensively with 12 points.

RDC finished the game with 23 offensive rebounds and 49 total in the game. The 16 rebounds by Garica-Bernal were part of another double-double for the guard. She had 11 points and five steals in the loss and was the Queens player of the game for her efforts.

“Sandra is a competitor. You watch her enough to know that she’s going to compete until the final buzzer and she’s going to sacrifice her body,” King said of the five-foot-five guard from Spain.

“She will out-compete anybody on the court anytime we play. That’s really one of her staples. We know what we’re getting out of her. She’s putting up rebound numbers, that for somebody her size is unheard of. She’s competing for the rebound title in the league.”

For the visitors, Chayle Clark had a monster game on the boards with 22 rebounds and was player of the game. Hannah Helton chipped in a game-high 17 points for the Lightning.

RDC will travel to Calgary Saturday to finish off the home-and-home with the Lightning.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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