Spartans Fall to Visiting Pandas

trinity western_spartans1

January 12, 2013, Langley BC (ISN) – The Alberta Pandas proved to be in control from start to finish as the visitors knocked off the Trinity Western women’s basketball team 73-53 Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

A 16-2 Pandas run midway through the first half was the difference Friday as Alberta (7-4) turned an early 10-8 lead into a 24-12 advantage. From there, the Pandas never led by less than four points. Forced to continually battle back from the second quarter on, the Spartans (2-9) were unable to keep pace with an Alberta team that is now 20-1 all-time against TWU.

The Pandas were led by Saskia Van Ginhoven (Edmonton), who had 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds while Jessilyn Fairbanks (Edmonton), had 15 points and three steals. Kendra Asleson (Richmond, B.C.) added 13 points, all of which came in the second half, and five rebounds.

For the Spartans, Holly Strom (Calgary) had a team-high 14 points to go with three rebounds while Sarah Cleveland (Elizabeth, Colo.) added 11 points and Laurissa Weigl (Stony Plain, Alta.) had a team-high eight rebounds along with three steals.

“We know what we have to do well to win games and I think we showed signs of it today but it wasn’t enough to get the win,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “We let them go on two big runs and it’s really hard to recover from those. We have to get better.

“Was our execution on offence great? Not necessarily. Did we turn over the ball more than we normally do? Yes. And I think a lot of that was just trying to do too much. Alberta is a well-organized team and if you make half of a mistake, you end up paying for it. That happened to us today. It’s a tough way to start the second semester but I’m proud of the girls because they never gave up and they continued to fight. ”

The Pandas took an early lead in the first quarter but Spartans quickly responded and, after a Janelle Traber (Abbotsford, B.C.) jumper, TWU took a 10-8 lead. However, it was shortly after Traber’s basket that Alberta found it rhythm. The Pandas Maddie Rogers (Calgary) made her first basket of the night and, with that, the visitors launched what would eventually be a 16-2 run.

The first quarter ended with Alberta ahead 13-10 but the run that started with Rogers continued to roll right on into the second quarter. By the end of the run, a Fairbanks 3-pointer gave the Pandas a 24-12 edge and a lead they would relinquish.

Before the first half was done, Alberta extended its advantage to as much as 15 points, at 31-15, but in the waning stages of the half TWU managed to battle back to make it just a nine-point game at the break. With Weigl, Strom and, at the buzzer, Traber each earning two points inside the final 2:07, the Spartans made it 31-22 going into the locker room.

Trinity Western came out strong in the third quarter and with a 3-pointer from Cleveland got to within four points at 33-29. However, with Fairbanks starting another Pandas push with one of her seven field goals on the evening, Alberta responded with an 11-2 run that restored the Pandas double-digit lead, at 44-31. The Pandas maintained at least an eight-point edge the rest of the quarter and by the end of the frame were up 52-40.

In the fourth quarter, Alberta pushed its lead to as much as 22-points, at 73-51, and then cruised to a 73-53 win, outscoring the Spartans 21-13 over the final 10 minutes. 

The Spartans are back in action Saturday night as they will take on Saskatchewan at 6 p.m. at the LEC. The Pandas will travel to Abbotsford to play the No. 1 Fraser Valley Cascades Saturday at 5 p.m.

Game Notes: Alberta out-rebounded TWU 48-31…TWU had a 12-11 advantage in steals…TWU shot 33.9 per cent from the field while Alberta shot 45.5 per cent…TWU shot 81.8 per cent from the free throw line while Alberta was just 57.1 per cent.