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November 2, 2012, LANGLEY, British Columbia – It was close but just not quite close enough as the Trinity Western women’s basketball team dropped its home-opener 60-54 to No. 10 UBC Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

The Spartans were step-for-step with UBC throughout the contest and even possessed a three-point lead heading into the third quarter, but ultimately it was a bigger Thunderbirds squad, and one that outrebounded TWU 52-28, pulling out the win late. The T-Birds outscored TWU 24-15 in the fourth quarter and that proved to be the difference.

Led by Kris Young, who had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, the Thunderbirds escaped a tight one that saw UBC turn the ball over 21 times compared to the Spartans 12. Also leading the way for UBC was Cassandra Knievel, who had 15 points and two steals while Victoria Spangehl had a game-high 14 boards to go along with seven points.

For the Spartans, it was Holly Strom (Calgary) leading the charge throughout the game as she put up 17 points and added a team-high eight rebounds and two blocks. Sarah Cleveland (Elizabeth, Colo.) contributed nine points and three steals while Emily Knauff (Maple Ridge, B.C.) had five points, four rebounds and three steals.

The loss drops the Spartans to 0-1 and extends their winless skid against UBC to eight games. The T-Birds are now 1-0 and have yet to lose at the Langley Events Centre.

“I think the first half was really good,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “We knew we couldn’t allow this team to score 70 or 80 points on us because we do struggle at times to be consistent scorers. I think defensively we made the statement we had to make. I don’t think we gave them too many easy looks. It just came down to a few too many fouls that hurt us. They did get a lot of offensive boards that they started scoring on at the end but when it comes down to it, their size and their zone is what held us up.”

After the first quarter, the Spartans, on the strength of 46.2 per cent shooting and five points from Strom, possessed a 13-10 lead.

However midway through the second quarter, UBC responded and, for a time, it looked like the T-Birds were going to pull away. With the T-Birds ahead 16-15, the visitors went on a 10-2 run, which included five points from Young, to open their biggest lead to that point at 26-17. But the Spartans responded with a 9-0 run of their own to go into halftime on even terms, 26-26.

In the third quarter, the Spartans continued to keep pace with the T-Birds and with a 3-pointer from Laurissa Weigl (Stony Plain, Alta.) with 1:31 left in the quarter, TWU took a 39-36 lead into the final frame.

In the fourth quarter, UBC turned it up a few notches. With the Spartans up 41-40, UBC went on an 8-0 run that gave them a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Trinity Western got to within one point at 50-49 but was unable to surge ahead. The T-Birds reestablished their lead down the stretch and hung on for the six-point win.

The teams will meet in a rematch Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

Game Notes: TWU shot just 16.7 per cent from 3-point range compared to UBC’s 42.9 per cent…TWU was 64.3 per cent from the free-throw line while UBC was 57.1 per cent…TWU had 15 steals to UBC’s 5.