Spartans Knock Off Winnipeg For Second Win Of Year

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Mark Janzen

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team got its second win a row as they beat Winnipeg 71-60 Friday night at the Langley Events Centre.

The Spartans overcame a rocky first quarter, one that ended with them trailing 20-12, to produce dominant second and third frames before hanging on for the win in the fourth quarter.

After Winnipeg lit the Spartans up for four 3-pointers in the first quarter, the Spartans responded with six long-balls of their own in the second quarter to build a five point halftime lead and never trailed the rest of the way.

The Spartans had four players hit double-digit points with Holly Strom leading the way with 14 while Sarah Cleveland had 13. Tiffany Olsen had a game-high eight rebounds to go along with her 11 points.

For Winnipeg, Amy Ogidan had a game-high 26 points while Tia Coulter added 10 points.

The win improves the Spartans record to 2-1 on the season while Winnipeg falls to 2-1.

“I thought our defensive intensity was good other than the first quarter,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “We talked about taking high percentage shots away from them and I thought we made some good adjustments after the first quarter to take away their high percentage shots. We just shot the ball well early on and then we had some great looks inside and crashed the boards hard. There were a lot of little things we did well.”

The Wesmen came out of the gate on fire from beyond the arc as they went four for six from 3-point land to give themselves an eight-point advantage after the first quarter. Winnipeg’s Alyssa Grant knocked down a pair of 3-pointers early on to give the visitors an 8-3 lead and set the tone for the quarter.

Ogidan then hit a pair of distance shots of her own to maintain the Wesmen’s early momentum. In contrast, the Spartans were zero for six from 3-point range in the opening quarter.

In the second quarter, the game’s downtown shooting did a complete reversal.

After sputtering through the first frame, the Spartans went six for eight from 3-point range, which turned the game’s tide in a hurry.

Sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from Cleveland, the Spartans went on a 17-2 run, capped by a Strom 3-pointer that turned a 22-12 deficit into a 35-30 lead at the break. At one point, the Spartans held Winnipeg to just two points over a span of 7:21 and held the Wesmen to 10 points in the quarter.

In the third quarter, the Spartans kept their momentum rolling as they moved inside and to the free throw line to score their points. Led by Strom, who had seven points in the quarter, the Spartans built up what would be a 15-point advantage going into the final 10 minutes.

But in the fourth quarter, Winnipeg, after struggling to keep up with the Spartans for the better of two quarters, came out with a purpose.

The Wesmen scored the first eight points of the quarter, making it 59-52 ball game.

But after a mid-range jumper from Emily Knauff, the Spartans slowed the Wesmen’s momentum and turned the game back in Trinity Western’s favour as they rolled to an 11-point win. Winnipeg’s Ogidan had eight points in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough as the Spartans, led by Chelsey Olsen who led Trinity Western with five points in the final quarter, never let the Wesmen get any closer than seven points.

The Spartans will host Manitoba Saturday night at 5:00 p.m. while Winnipeg will travel to Fraser Valley to take on the Cascades Saturday at 5:00 p.m.

Game Notes – TWU shots 43.1 per cent from the field while Winnipeg shot 34.4 per cent…both teams finished with 38 rebounds.

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