Jones in tiebreaker

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

REGINA -- The last gasps were starting to fade into a flat line.

But the corpse called Manitoba responded to its own defibrillators and are back among the land of the living here at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

With the prospect of tying a Manitoba record for futility (4-7) staring them in their paled faces on Tuesday, Jennifer Jones suddenly revived her foursome. Jones capped off a four-game winning streak by clobbering long-time rival Team Canada Kelly Scott 9-4 at the Brandt Centre yesterday afternoon, then was forced to watch her fate unfold last night.

When the smoke cleared, Ontario's Sherry Middaugh had defeated Newfoundland's Heather Strong 8-5, which means Jones gets to live to fight yet another day.

Jones will play Strong in the only tie-breaker necessary at the Brandt Centre this morning 9:30. The winner advances to the Page playoff three-four game against Quebec's Marie-France Larouche at 2 p.m.

"Hey, if we're playing (today), I'm happy with that," Manitoba second Jill Officer said before the late draw. "And we're OK with having to play as many games as it takes. If we're playing (today), we'd be happy with that and we'd just go out and try to play our best."

The Manitoba foursome planned to go for dinner, then watch last night's game on TV so they were not available for comment immediately after the game.

But Jones will be riding into the tie-breaker on a high while Strong will be coming off an emotional loss, dropping from a crack at second place to the tie-breaker.

"We were looking to finish second ourselves," a shattered Strong said. "Hopefully, we'll come out firing on all cylinders (today)."

Jones started her comeback by beating Strong on Wednesday morning.

"We've had a real good last couple of days and we keep getting stronger," Manitoba third Cathy Overton-Clapham said after the victory over Scott. "Our backs were up against the wall and we usually play our best when that happens. We needed a good kick in the pants to play the way we could play. So, we just picked it up."

Jones also beat B.C.'s Allison MacInnes 8-4 earlier.

However, no team has won the Hearts title after going through a tie-breaker.

"Jen and I did it in junior with a 7-4 record," Officer said of their 1994 Canadian championship. "We played two tie-breakers, the semi and the final. Of course, that was before the Page playoff system. So it can be done.

"When we played (against current lead) Dawn (Askin, then with Ontario's Jenn Hanna) in the (Hearts) final in 2005, they were 6-5, won two tie-breakers, the 3-4, the semi and they lost in the final -- and they lost on last rock. So, anything's possible."

Just Manitoba getting into the tie-breaker proves that.

And somehow, you have just got to believe that the Lady Luck that had turned her back on the Buffalo gals earlier in the week is back on board.

"We're definitely playing better than we were a couple of days ago," Jones agreed. "We're getting the rolls and our draws are a lot more precise. We knew we'd have to come out and play well and that's what we did."

In fact, there is still room for improvement.

"We're getting sharper with every game," Officer said. "We knew what we had to do. For whatever reason, we come out a little sharper when we have our backs against the wall. We came out and did what we needed to do."

And they did end Scott's two-year reign as the Canadian champ and unseated her as the women's world champ.


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