Manitoba stumbles

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:45 PM ET

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -- Deny, deny, deny.

We said it at the beginning of the week and we'll say it again. Kelly Scott has become a nemesis for Manitoba's Jennifer Jones, her former junior teammate.

Scott defeated Jones during last year's round robin of the national women's championship in London, Ont. Then she beat Jones again in the final, wrestling the Team Canada jackets from her grasp. And Scott did it to her once again yesterday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Scott overwhelmed Jones 8-3 at the Enmax Centre to clinch top spot and a berth in the Page playoff one-two match and drop Jones into the three-four game after snapping her nine-game winning streak. Although Jones finished tied with Saskatchewan's Jan Betker at 9-2, Betker beat her early in the week.

Jones denied having any sort of mental block when it comes to playing against the transplanted Manitoban.

"No, no. Not at all," Jones insisted. "We just went out and did our thing like we would play any other game."

Yet, the Jones squad had been getting better each outing and enjoyed perhaps its best game of the tourney when it clobbered Quebec's Chantal Osborne yesterday morning, shooting a collective 91%. Then they ran into the Scott wall.

"We just weren't as sharp as we were becoming as the week has gone on," said Manitoba second Jill Officer. "We knew it was going to be a tight game with them. Our rock placement wasn't as good as theirs. They were doing a good job of putting the pressure on us."

But that makes Manitoba even more determined to exact revenge.

"We obviously hope that we'll get a chance to play them again and I'm sure we will," said Manitoba third Cathy Overton-Clapham. "We're just going to have to pick it up a bit and hopefully, we'll get the breaks.

"They played well. Kelly played really well. But I think our team's as good as their team."

But Scott, who will play Betker in the one-two contest tonight at 7 p.m., has now beaten Jones in two straight critical contests on the national stage.

"Maybe the results are more swayed our way but I wouldn't say we'd go out there thinking we have an advantage at all," said Team Canada second Sasha Carter. "(But) you'd have to ask them, I'm not sure."

Carter added that she expects to play Jones again this weekend -- in the playoffs.

"Now, it's our turn," suggested Officer. "If we have to lose to them, I'd rather lose to them now than later."

But first, Jones must beat whomever emerges from the tie-breakers in the three-four playoff, most likely to be played tonight at 7 o'clock. That's because Scott blocked their way to the one-two playoff.

"Well hey, we're still in playoffs, man," Officer said. "After Day 1, that wasn't looking so good. So, we're pretty happy to be in the playoffs."

But now it's do-or-die.

"It's what we did in provincials," Jones said. "We'll have to win three in a row and that's not too bad.

"We had a great week. We lost our first game and won nine in a row and lost one. So, 9-2 is pretty damn good. We'll see what happens now."

Betker beat Alberta's Cheryl Bernard 8-7 to clinch her one-two berth.

"We've had such a great week that we deserve to be in that one-two game," said Betker, who believes her squad can win this whole Alberta burrito. "We're playing well enough, why not?"

Alberta, B.C., Ontario. P.E.I. and Newfoundland were vying for tie-breaker spots last night.


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