LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team was lights out early in the first half and then cruised to a convincing win in the second half as they knocked off Lethbridge 79-51 Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
The Spartans raced out of the gate in the first quarter and never let up as they rolled to their most decisive victory of the season. The win also marked the Spartans highest offensive output since coach Cheryl Jean-Paul took over before last season. The previous high was 74 points, which Jean-Paul’s team has hit four times.
Trinity Western was led by Holly Strom, who had a 19-point, 13-rebound and five-steal effort while Sarah Cleveland, who was three for five from 3-point range, had 16 points and Tiffany Olsen added 13 points.
The Pronghorns were led by Natalie Nichols, who led her team with 17 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Morgan Cross added six points and five rebounds.
With the win Trinity Western improved its record to 4-5 on the season while the loss drops Lethbridge to 2-7.
“It was exactly how we wanted to start the second half of the season,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “It was a great team win. For the fact, we have 10, 11 or 12 athletes ready to step onto the floor and play and compete is a great sign for our program not just for this year but for years to come.
“Our defensive intensity was great in the first half. It’s nice to actually talk about something and emphasize something and really see it happen.”
The Spartans got off to a hot start in the opening quarter as Strom, with seven points, and Cleveland, with six points off back-to-back 3-pointers, helped the home side to an 18-5 lead after 10 minutes.
Trinity Western’s Olsen scored the first four points of the frame and the Spartans ran from there, holding the Pronghorns to just one for 13 shooting from the field in the quarter, while going six for 15 from the field themselves, including three for four from beyond the arc.
The second quarter was much of the same as the Spartans poured it on offensively, scoring 27 points in the quarter, to take a 31-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
Leading the way was Olsen, who had 11 points in the quarter while Cleveland continued to play with a hot hand, adding eight points to her team-leading 14-point halftime total.
The Pronghorns were led by Nichols as she had eight of her team’s 14 points and also had a team-high four rebounds.
As a team, the Spartans were six for 11 from 3-point range, compared to Lethbridge’s zero for five shooting from distance. Trinity Western also out-rebounded the visitors 29-18 in the opening 20 minutes.
In the third quarter the Pronghorns came out with much more energy and were much sharper defensively as they held Trinity Western to just 12 points in the frame, while scoring 15 themselves. Lethbridge was led offensively by both Cross and Nichols, who each had four points while Nichols also added five rebounds.While the Pronghorns did outscore the Spartans in the quarter, Trinity Western never allowed Lethbridge to challenge its lead as the visitors never got to within less than 27 points.
In the fourth quarter, with a large portion of both teams’ benches seeing the floor, the Spartans and Pronghorns each scored 22 points as Trinity Western cruised to the 28-point victory. Nichols added another six points for the Pronghorns while Strom was the Spartans high scorer in the final 10 minutes with six points of her own.
Every Spartan except Laurelle Weigl, who left the game with an ankle injury four minutes into the game, had at least three points on the night.
The Spartans are next in action Saturday when they host Calgary at 5:00 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre while Lethbridge will travel to Fraser Valley to play the Cascades at 5:00 p.m.
Game Notes – The Spartans had 49 rebounds to Lethbridge’s 41…TWU finished 8 for 19 from 3-point range while Lethbridge was 2 for 13…TWU had 13 steals to the Pronghorns 7.