Champ will defend title

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

It doesn't matter how Shannon Kleibrink earned her spot at the provincials.

It only matters that she's there.

The defending provincial women's curling champ is headed back to the Alberta Scott Tournament of Hearts, thanks to a steal of one in the 10th yesterday to beat Renelle Bryden 5-4 in the B final at the southern playdowns in Airdrie.

"There was a real straight spot on the ice and we just happened to get a rock right on it," Kleibrink said of the winning stone at the back of the 4-ft.

"(Bryden third Nancy Smith's) rock just kind of fell, same with her last one. It's tricky ice out there."

Smith's misses meant Kleibrink was able to protect her stone with a couple of guards, forcing Bryden to come up with a double raise.

But she hit the top rock too thin and Kleibrink walked away with the B berth at the provincial Scott in Lethbridge, Jan. 26-30. Diane Foster of Calgary's Garrison club earned the A berth, defeating Bryden 6-5 Saturday night.

Kleibrink was down 4-2 after Bryden's steal of one in the eighth. But Bryden wrecked on a guard, leaving the Calgary Winter Club skip with a draw for two to tie.

"It wasn't really good for us but we got a huge break," Kleibrink said. "I'm not sure if her rock picked but it was overcurled and gave us a chance for two, let us back in the game.

"Before that, we were scrambling."

Kleibrink, third Amy Nixon, second Glenys Bakker and lead Christine Keshen won't be fussy about being the southern No. 2 seed at provincials, especially considering the skip was the No. 3 pick last year when she won.

"We don't care how we get there," Kleibrink said. "Anybody can win once you get to provincials."

BIG SHOT: Cheryl Bernard of Calgary Winter Club made a huge angle-raise takeout against Jennifer Loudon of Medicine Hat to ensure she's still in the race for the C berth.

The hot shot scored four in a 9-3 victory.

"We're in C and we don't know how we got here," Bernard said, laughing. "But we'll figure it out and fight through."

Bernard faces LaDawn Funk of Calgary in the C semifinal today at 9 a.m. In the other semi, it's Bryden and Karen Powell of Calgary.

The final is set for 2 p.m.


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