LANGLEY, British Columbia – For the second night in a row, the Trinity Western women’s basketball team was bettered by visiting Thompson Rivers as the Spartans fell 76-58 Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
Using a dominant second quarter, one in which the WolfPack outscored the Spartans 26-14, Thompson Rivers opened up a 12-point halftime lead and never looked back as it completed the weekend sweep in impressive fashion and kept its playoff hopes alive.
The WolfPack, who had five players with double-digit points, was led by Jen Ju, who had a game-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds and three assists, Diane Schuetze, who had 18 points and eight boards, and Jorri Duxbury, who had 10 points, nine assists and six rebounds.
The Spartans were led by Holly Strom, who had 18 points, three blocks and three rebounds, Tiffany Olsen, who had 14 points and four rebounds, and Laurelle Weigl, who had seven rebounds and six points.
The loss drops Trinity Western to 8-9 on the season while the win improves Thompson Rivers to 7-9.
“It’s obviously a dissapointing loss for us,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “I think know the question we need to ask ourselves is who are we in this loss and how are we going to deal with overcoming and rebounding from it and how we’re going to approach the next game.
“We didn’t come with energy that we needed.It’s been an emotional week for us and I think that it was just a lot easier for us to not make as much of an effort as we needed. I’m proud of the fact we tried as hard as we could. It just wasn’t enough.
“On the positive side, Holly was able to refind her scoring touch, which will be important for us in the next game coming up. I think there were some little moments here and there where we tried hard but we just couldn’t get it done.”
In the first quarter, the Spartans got off to a much stronger start than they had the night before as they shot 44.4 per cent and were step for step with the WolfPack, who shot 41.7 per cent itself, throughout.
After a back and forth action start to the opening frame, the WolfPack opened started to roll late in the quarter as they earned four-point leads at 15-11 and thena again at 17-13. But the Spartans bigs got them back in it before the end of the quarter as Weigl scored off an under and up lay-in and Tiffany Olsen floated a right-handed shot in at the buzzer to tie it 17-17.
In the second quarter, Thompson Rivers pushed the pace as they it built a 29-23 lead after a Kaitlyn Widsten layup. The Spartans quickly responed with a 3-pointer from Emily Knuaff and a jumper from Strom to once again close the gap.
However, with the score 29-28 for the WolfPack, Thompson Rivers went on a game-turning 14-3 run to end the quarter. Thanks in large part to three 3-pointers down the stretch, two of which came from Ju and one from Widsten, the visitors opened a 12-point lead at halftime, 43-31.
Thompson Rivers was five for eight from beyond the arc in the second quarter alone.
Continuing their momentum from the second quarter, the WolfPack came out in the third and blew the game wide open.
Schuetze got the first bucket of the half and from there, Thompson Rivers went on the offensive, opening as much as a 21-point lead, 59-38.
Following back-to-back blocks from Strom, one on Ju and one on Schuetze, the Spartans gathered a bit of momentum late, ending the quarter with a 7-1 run, but still trailied 60-45 going to the fourth.
By the end of the third quarter, the WolfPack had three players with at least double-digits in points and were shooting 47.7 per cent from the field compared to the Spartans 34.0 per cent.
With full control of the contest, the WolfPack never gave Trinity Western a sniff in the fourth quarter as Thompson Rivers outscored the Spartans 16-13 in the final frame, taking the game by an 18-point margin.
The Spartans will play their final game of the Canada West regular season Feb. 9 when they host Fraser Valley at 6:00 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
Game Notes – TRU outrebounded TWU 44-34…TRU finished seven for 15 from 3-point range while TWU was three for 10…TWU shot 34.4 per cent from the field while TRU shot 45.8 per cent…both teams had 12 turnovers.