(Charlottetown, PE) -In her final home game as a Panther, Kiera Rigby led the way with 20 points en route to a 71-63 win over the Cape Breton Capers Sunday afternoon.
After taking the first quarter 23-11, the Panthers never looked back as they controlled the game from start to finish.
"I think we've been playing very well in the second half of the season," said Panthers head coach Greg Gould. "The fact that we've beaten every team is very positive."
UPEI extended the lead 16-6 midway through the quarter behind a Jane McLaughlin three, followed by a contested layup for Ellsworth, forcing the Capers (12-6) to call a timeout. McLaughlin recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.
The timeout did little to help as Cape Breton was held to just 26.3 per cent shooting in the quarter. The Panthers, meanwhile, shot a blistering 52.9 per cent (including four made threes) and took a 23-11 lead into the second. Rigby led the way with eight points, while Ellsworth had seven of her 14 points in the frame.
Toni Bianchini (Groves Point, NS) drained a long-range jumper to pull the Capers within nine points to begin the second, but the Panthers responded with a Rigby lay-in and a Victoria Barbour three to push the advantage back up to 14.
But the veteran-savy Capers finished the half on a 9-0 run to make it 33-27. Hannah Brown (North Sydney, NS) scored six of her eight first-half points during the three-minute spurt. Brown finished with 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Both teams traded baskets to begin the second half, but Ellsworth and Rigby connected on a pair of deep daggers to push the lead to 44-32.
Cape Breton was able to trim the deficit to as few as five in final minutes of the game, but that's when Rigby took over and iced the game with free throws for the 71-63 final.
Capers' star Alison Keough (Marion Bridge, NS) continued her strong season recording a game-high 22 points and 16 rebounds in the loss.
The CAPERS return home next where they'll take on the Saint Mary's Huskies with 1st-place on the line. Tipoff is set for Feb. 24 at 6 p.m.