February 17, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team hung right with No. 4 Fraser Valley for the better part of Saturday’s season finale but in the end, it was the Cascades pulling out an 84-76 win at the Langley Events Centre.
The win sees Fraser Valley end the season with an 18-4 record and finish first in the Pacific Division. The Cascades will open the Canada West playoffs at home against Saskatchewan.
For the Spartans, while the loss sees them finish the season out of the playoffs with a 7-15 record, the game capped what was a record-setting season for TWU’s Holly Strom (Calgary).
The fourth-year Strom, who collected 24 points, seven rebounds, five steals, three blocks and three assists Saturday, rewrote the TWU record books, setting new season marks for points per game, rebounds per game, blocks per game, total points, total rebounds and total blocks.
Strom finished the season atop Canada West in points per game, with 19.2, and blocks per game, with 1.8, while also collecting 8.0 rebounds per game. In terms of season totals, including exhibition play, her season saw her set records with 430 points, 181 rebounds and 39 blocks. She also finished with 2.6 steals per game, which is the fifth best season in TWU history, with a total of 57 steals, which is the third most in school history.
Strom’s points per game mark betters Taylor Stuart’s average of 15.3, which she earned in 2005-06. Strom’s point total also breaks a Stuart mark as she had 367 points in 2005-06. Strom’s rebound average knocks Corina Reimer from the top spot as the former Spartan had 7.7 boards per game in 2007-08, while her rebound total bettered Lauren Doubroff’s mark of 180 from 2008-09. Strom’s 39 blocks beats out Reimer’s mark of 27 from 2010-11 while Strom’s block average also bests Reimer and her 1.1 blocks per game, which she also earned in 2010-11.
“Honestly, it’s hard for me to answer what went well this season,” Strom said. “I just wanted to have fun playing this year. It was still hard, but I just wanted to play for the team and enjoy the season.”
Spartans coach Jean-Paul added: “Holly has just become a really special basketball player and she’s taken it all in stride. It’s not an ego thing for her and, as she’s said before, it’s about glorifying God. It’s been a great snapshot of the other side of what’s important at Trinity Western. We are celebrating her basketball success, but we’re also celebrating the fact she is doing what she was created to do and she’s doing it well.”
In Saturday’s win, Fraser Valley shot 47.6 per cent from the field while TWU shot 39.2 per cent. The Cascades also had a 48-32 edge on the glass. The Spartans had 13 steals to the Cascades two to keep the home side in the game throughout much of the contest.
Statistically for the Spartans in Saturday’s game, beyond Strom, it was Emily Knauff (Maple Ridge, B.C.) with 20 points while Sarah Cleveland (Elizabeth, Colo.) added 14 points and six rebounds.
For the Cascades, it was a balanced attack that helped win the day as four different players had double-digits in points. Sarah Wierks (Chilliwack, B.C.) led UFV with 16 points while Aieisha Luyken (Mission, B.C.) and Kayli Sartori (Chlliwack) each added 14 points and Nicole Wierks (Chilliwack) had 12. Sarah Wierks also added a game-high 14 rebounds while Courtney Bartel (Chilliwack) had 10 boards.
The Spartans honoured graduating seniors Knauff, Cleveland and Stephanie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.).
“For us to be able to play good basketball against a top team is an affirmation of the hard work we’ve been putting in,” Jean-Paul said. “I thought the seniors finished really well. I couldn’t have asked for a better way for them to finish their careers.
“There was fight all the way to the end. We were trading baskets forever, but in the end we couldn’t match the spurt they had. I’m proud of our effort.”
The Spartans scored the first seven points of the contest but that lead quickly vanished as the Cascades respond with seven straight points of their own. From there, it was largely back and forth as neither team managed anything more than a four-point edge. With the score tied 22-22 late, a 3-pointer from Bartel gave UFV a three-point lead after 10 minutes.
The Spartans Strom had a quarter-high nine points while UFV was led by Sartori, who put up seven for the visitors.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same as the teams traded points throughout and it was a Brink jumper in the late stages that broke a deadlock, this time when it was 37-37, to give the Cascades a 39-37 lead at halftime. After a Carkner 3-pointer, the Spartans went up 37-33 but UFV finished the half with six straight points.
The Cascades, who shot 51.7 per cent from the field in the first half, were led by Sarah Wierks, who had eight points in the second quarter. The Spartans, who shot 39.5 per cent from the field, were led by Knauff, who had a team-high six points in the second frame.
In the third quarter, the teams continued to play shot for shot. The Cascades came out of the break and opened a five-point lead, at 44-39, only to see TWU score five points in a row to knot the game 44-44. After that, the teams traded points until a jumper by UFV’s Brink gave the visitors a 61-60 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The teams went back and forth early on in the fourth quarter, but with the score tied 71-71, the Cascades took over. Fraser Valley went on a 7-0 run, capped by a Luyken jumper, that gave UFV the lead for good. While the Spartans managed to get the game to within three points, at 78-75, they couldn’t get any closer. Down the stretch, the Cascades pulled away for an eight-point win.
After going eight for 10 from the free throw line in the first three quarters, the Spartans struggled from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, going just five for 10. Fraser Valley countered by going nine for 12 from the line, which was largely the difference in the final frame.