SPORTS

Manitoba's Jennifer Jones remains unbeaten at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

02/17/2015 05:43 EST | Updated 04/19/2015 05:59 EDT
MOOSE JAW, Sask. - Manitoba's Jennifer Jones is showing why many consider her the skip to beat at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

She's winning close games when she needs to and is blowing out opponents too. Jones and her team remained unbeaten Tuesday with a comfortable 9-3 victory over Quebec's Lauren Mann at Mosaic Place.

"We find that everyone always brings their best game against us," said third Kaitlyn Lawes. "It's exciting because it keeps us on our toes and we have to be ready for every single game that we play out here."

The Winnipeg-based team has outscored the opposition 51-24 over their six victories. Ontario's Julie Hastings gave Jones a test in their opener and an extra end was required for an 8-7 win over Canada's Rachel Homan on Monday night.

Jones hit the clutch draw to the button for the victory over the two-time defending Scotties champion.

"I wouldn't want anyone else throwing that last rock," Lawes said. "She's amazing in those pressure situations. She's just so talented and she has so much experience to draw on. She just loves to play and she loves playing for that butterfly feeling in those big moments."

The loss ended Homan's 22-game winning streak at this event. Jones was the last skip to beat Homan at the Scotties, topping her at the 2013 event in Kingston, Ont. Homan got her revenge by beating Jones in the final that year.

They appear to be on a collision course again this year, although Alberta's Val Sweeting has emerged as another top contender. Homan beat Sweeting in last year's final in Montreal, while Jones was taking the Olympic title at the Sochi Games.

Jones is a four-time Scotties champion but hasn't won a national title since taking her third straight gold medal in 2010. Her other win came in 2005.

"We seem to bring out the best in each other," Jones said of teammates Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen. "We have a ton of fun. We always win or lose as a team and that's really been the key to our success."

Sweeting was also unbeaten through 10 draws after defeating British Columbia's Patti Knezevic 10-5 in the evening draw.

Homan is 5-1 after toppling Heather Strong of Newfoundland and Labrador 11-5.

The battle heading into the second half of the round robin appears to be for fourth place and the final playoff spot.

After 10 draws, Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton is alone in fourth at 4-2, but three teams are right behind her. Ontario, Prince Edward Island's Suzanne Birt and Northern Ontario's Tracy Horgan are all 3-3 while Newfoundland & Labrador is 3-4.

Nova Scotia's Mary-Anne Arsenault is next at 2-5, followed New Brunswick's Sylvie Robichaud at 1-5. Quebec and B.C. sit last at 1-6.

Round-robin play continues through Friday and the medal games are scheduled for Sunday. The Scotties winner will represent Canada at the March 14-22 world women's curling championship in Sapporo, Japan.

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