Spartans Score Overtime Win Over Mount Royal

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January, 26, 2013, Langley, BC – Outscoring Mount Royal 12-2 in the overtime session, the Trinity Western women’s basketball team earned a hard-fought 86-76 win over the Cougars Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

Despite three of their starters on the bench having fouled out by the end of overtime, the Spartans (4-11) didn’t allow MRU (5-10) to sink a single field goal in the extra frame as they pulled away for a decisive 10-point win. Holly Strom (Calgary) and Chantelle Martin (Surrey, B.C.) each had four points in overtime to lead TWU to the win.

The victory is the Spartans first overtime win in nearly 10 years, going back to a 80-73 triumph over Lethbridge Feb. 7, 2003. The 86 points TWU scored also ties the Spartans all-time record for points in a game. The Spartans tied the total they earned in an 86-51 win over Brandon Nov. 4, 2006.

After a back and forth fourth quarter, Strom knocked down one of her two free throw attempts with 23 seconds left in the regulation to send the game to overtime tied 74-74.

“I’m just so glad we finished,” Strom said. “It’s just so encouraging for us. Just knowing that we can finish is the biggest thing for me. The program has had such a hard time finishing but this time we won. I felt like we were all on the same page. We were talking with each other. We were communicating. We knew how to switch screens. And I think that made the biggest difference for us.”

On a night, when every Spartan who saw the floor also scored at least a point, it was Strom who was the Spartans offensive catalyst, earning a double-double with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Emily Knauff (Maple Ridge, B.C.) added 12 points and nine boards while Chelsey Olsen (Fanny Bay, B.C.) had 12 points and five boards.

The Cougars were led by Emily Larson (Calgary), who had 23 points and five assists, while Hilary Annich (St. Albert, Alta.) added 19 points and four rebounds and Carrie Campbell (Raymond, Alta.) had 12 points. Annalise Posein (Okotoks, Alta.) had a game-high 12 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass.

“To me that was probably one of our most defining wins since I’ve been here,” said third-year Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “We have struggled to finish out games, but tonight proved that the success we earned against Lethbridge last weekend wasn’t just a blip. We’re becoming a team that can fight through a lot of adversity and we made some great defensive stops near the end of the fourth quarter.

“The fact everyone who stepped on the floor scored a point is so huge for our program. Everyone needs to be involved in our wins and I thought everyone who came on the floor was ready. This is a great win for our program and I’m looking forward to moving on with these kinds of lessons that this is what it takes to be a good program.”

Thanks in large part to going six for six from the free throw line in the first quarter, the Spartans were able to build a five-point lead, 16-11, after the opening 10 minutes. With a buzzer-beating lay-up from Strom, off a long inbounds pass from Sarah Cleveland (Elizabeth, Colo.), the Spartans went into the second quarter with their biggest lead of the night to that point.

In the second quarter, TWU pushed its lead to as much as nine points after Knauff nailed a 3-pointer to make it 22-13, and then extended it to 11, at 31-20 after a 3-pointer from Cleveland. But, with just over two minutes left in the half, the Cougars made a late run to close the gap. With a lay-up from Annich, who finished the quarter with a team-high six points, momentum started to swing the visitors way and the Cougars finished the half with an 11-3 run tp go into the break down by just three points.

The Cougars came out in the second half and got off to a quick start as they opened with a 5-1 run to nab a one-point lead, 36-35. From there it was back and forth the rest of the quarter. Knocking down three 3-pointers on six attempts in the frame, MRU never let the Spartans extend their lead more than six points. With a pair of late free throws from Strom, TWU took a 56-53 advantage into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Spartans once again built a five-point quick lead, going up 71-66, but the Cougars didn’t go away. Coming right back, MRU went up 72-71 after a Larson lay-up. Then, after the teams traded points, with 23 seconds left in the quarter, Strom sent it to overtime by making one of two free throw attempts. A long jumper from TWU fell short at the buzzer.

In overtime, the Spartans simply took over. Holding the Cougars off the scoreboard for the first 3:56, TWU took a 10-point lead, up 84-74. The Cougars, shooting 0 for 7 from the field in the extra session, were never able to recover. Despite Stephanie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.), Strom and Olsen all on the bench having fouled out by the end of overtime, the Spartans were the better team over the last five minutes and proved as much on the scoreboard.

The teams will meet in a rematch Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre. The game can be seen on www.canadawest.tv.

Game Notes: TWU finished with a 37.3 field goal percentage while MRU was 34.7 per cent…MRU had a 54-45 rebounding edge…the teams combined for 50 fouls, as TWU had 26 and MRU had 24…MRU had 21 turnovers to TWU’s 10.

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