TWU Spartans Host Mount Royal

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January 25, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team (3-11) will host and play Mount Royal (5-9) for the first time in school history as the Cougars will make its first trip to Langley since joining the Canada West conference this past fall. Game times are Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m.

Both games can be seen live at www.canadawest.tv.

The last time the Spartans played an opponent new to the conference, they dropped both games of a road series against UNBC (6-8), 74-67 and 62-54, earlier this season.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (3-11)

  • CIS ranking: NR
  • Pacific Division position: 8th
  • Last CW Weekend: Lethbridge 76-63 W, Calgary 78-56 L
  • Streak: 1 loss
  • 2011-12 Pacific Division record: 8-10 (4th, tied)
  • 2012 playoffs: N/A
  • 2012 CIS tournament: N/A

The Spartans are coming off a weekend in which they managed to earn a split on the road, knocking off Lethbridge 76-63, but falling to Calgary the next night 78-56. When they tip-off against Mount Royal Friday, they will try to summon the intensity and offensive finish they possessed against the Pronghorns, when they put up their highest offensive output since Jan. 6, 2012, when they beat Lethbridge 79-51.

Against the Pronghorns, the Spartans were one Stephanie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) point away from all five of their starters hitting double-digits in points. The Spartans Holly Strom (Calgary) led the way with 18 while Emily Knauff (Maple Ridge, B.C.) added 16, Sarah Cleveland (Elizabeth, Colo.) had 15 and Chelsey Olsen (Fanny Bay, B.C.) contributed 10. If the Spartans can consistently get that type of production, they will be a difficult opponent to face down the stretch.

This season, TWU has been solid defensively, holding the opposition to 65.2 points per game (8th in Canada West) but its offence has been far from consistent. Through 14 games, the Spartans have averaged 59.1 points per game (14th in CW) and shot 34.9 per cent (12th in CW) from the field. However, in their wins, the Spartans have shot 43.2 per cent, compared to just 32.5 per cent in their losses.

As a team, the Spartans have also been defensive pests in terms of turnovers, earning 12.1 steals per game (2nd in CW), which has helped them to a +4.00 turnover margin (2nd in CW).

Individually, Trinity Western has seen more than few remarkable performances throughout the season, including a 31-point effort from Strom against Victoria, a 24-point performance by Knauff in an exhibition game against Simon Fraser, a 22-point night from Olsen against Calgary and an 18-point night from Cleveland against UBC. The key now for TWU is to put these efforts together, in some semblance, all on one night.

Strom leads the team in points with 17.2 per game (5th in CW), rebounds, with 6.9 per game (14th in CW), steals, with 2.4 per game (8th in CW) and blocked shots, with 1.4 per game (4th in CW). After Strom, in terms of scoring, Cleveland has averaged 10.9 points per game while, on the glass, Knauff has averaged 5.0 boards per outing.

MOUNT ROYAL COUGARS (5-9)

  • CIS ranking: NR
  • Prairie Division position: 6th
  • Last CW weekend: Manitoba 77-61 W, Winnipeg 73-67 W
  • Streak: 2 wins
  • 2011-12 ACAC South Division record: 15-3 (1st)
  • 2012 ACAC playoffs: 3-1 (2nd)
  • 2012 CCAA tournament: N/A

The Mount Royal Cougars entered the Canada West conference this past fall, moving up from the college ranks, and have put together a respectable 5-9 record through 14 games.

Coach Joe Enevoldson has built a veteran side, made up of seven returnees from last year’s ACAC (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference) runners-up, four CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association) transfers, and just one athlete coming straight from high school.

After a tough start to the season in which the Cougars won just two games in their first 10, since the New Year rolled around, Mount Royal has earned three wins in four outings and come to TWU looking to build upon its momentum. With wins over Manitoba and Winnipeg last weekend, the Cougars find themselves on their first winning streak as a member of the CIS.

The key for the Cougars success of late has been a balanced attack. In their two most recent wins, the Cougars had five different players hit double-digits in points. Over the weekend, Hilary Annich picked up a combined 26 points, Danica Rybachuk collected 22, Jordan MacLean earned 21, Carrie Campbell put up 19 and Annalise Posein nabbed 18.

Throughout the year, the Cougars have been led offensively by Annich, who is averaging 10.6 points per game, and Emily Larson, who is averaging 10.0 points per game. Rybachuk has been the Cougars most accurate shooter from beyond the arc, as she is hitting 41.5 per cent of her 3-point attempts (3rd in Canada West). On the glass, it’s been the trio of Kristen Docherty, averaging 5.5 rebounds per game and Posein and Jordan Anstice, each with 4.4 rebounds per game, leading the way.

As a team, Mount Royal is scoring 60.6 points per game (12th in CW) while giving up 68.4 points per game (12th in CW). Defensively, the Cougars have held the opposition to a 38.7 shooting percentage (8th in CW) but only have a 33.3 shooting percentage themselves (15th in CW). Most impressively, the Cougars are third in the conference in offensive rebounds per game, averaging 14.4.

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