Drama mamas at Scotties

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

The drama queen keeps finding new ways to win.

Team Canada's Jennifer Jones blew a 5-0 lead, then pulled out a 12-8 victory over Quebec's Marie-France Larouche in a wild semifinal at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Victoria, B.C. last night.

Jones had stolen four in the second end to take a 5-0 lead but, incredibly, some bad misses and questionable strategy allowed Larouche to come back to knot the score at 5-5 after four. But, after Quebec tied the score 7-7 in six, Jones took a 9-7 lead in the seventh, forced Larouche to take one on the eighth and cracked a three in the ninth end to take an insurmountable 12-8 lead.

"It was a strange game," Jones admitted from Victoria after one of the most poorly-played Hearts playoffs in memory. "The ice kind of changed and both teams got caught by it. But we managed to sneak it out."

GOOD KICK

But first, she gave herself a good kick for blowing the 5-0 lead.

"I was pretty ticked off at myself for knocking them in for (a steal of) three (in the fourth end)," Jones admitted.

"I really didn't play well," said an emotional Larouche. "That's why I'm so disappointed."

Jones won her fourth straight game and will defend her title against B.C.'s Marla Mallett in today's final at 7 p.m. (TSN).

"That's what we've worked towards all week because playing in that final at the Scotties is just tremendous," said Jones, supported by third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jill Officer and Dawn Askin. "But it's not about defending, it's just about playing the best because, to win the Canadian championship is just amazing and hopefully, we can do that, too."

COULD TIE LALIBERTE

Jones has a chance to become the first Manitoba team to successfully defend its national title and she could tie Connie Laliberte's Manitoba mark for most Canadian crowns as a skip (three). Overton-Clapham could win a record fourth title.

"It's not about the numbers," said Jones, the reigning women's world champ. "Just to have a chance to win another Canadian championship is amazing -- just for the prestige and honour of representing Canada.

"We love it. We love playing in these big games We're not scared of them, and we just love being out there together and enjoying the moment."

Mallett finished first with an 8-3 record.

"Obviously, she doesn't like a lot of rocks in play so we'll try to mix it up a bit," Jones said. "Unfortunately, she has the hammer. But she has played very well all week and will be tough (today).

"We weren't as sharp as a team (against Quebec) so we'll have to pick it up a notch ... I think it'll be a close game and hopefully, we'll have the hammer coming home."

The winner will represent Canada at the women's world championship in Gangneung, Korea, March 21-29, be Team Canada at next year's Hearts (unless she wins the Olympic trials), qualifies for the 2010 Canada Cup and pocket some hefty cash.

ALMOST BLEW SEMIFINAL

Earlier, Jones had eliminated Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton 8-6 in the Page playoff three-versus-four game.

Jones almost blew the semifinal, too, but drew to a piece of the back four-foot facing two with the hammer after nosing a centre guard with her first rock.

"I did that just to make it exciting," Jones joked. "I had to make up for missing my first one. But that was the best team game we played all week."


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