Spartans fall to visiting Pronghorns

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November 2, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team was only able to muster 27 second half points and that proved to be its undoing as the Spartans lost 76-65 to Lethbridge Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

The Pronghorns Kim Veldman put on an impressive show as she led Lethbridge with 30 points and 16 rebounds, guiding Lethbridge (1-1) to their first victory of the season.

Trinity Western (1-1), meanwhile, forced Lethbridge into 29 turnovers, but was held to just 31.3 per cent shooting in the second half and, in the end, the Spartans were outscored 41-27 over the final 20 minutes.

After TWU’s Luca Schmidt (Langley) knocked down a fourth quarter 3-pointer to get TWU to within one point, at 62-61, the Pronghorns responded with a 14-4 run close out the game and nab the win.

The Spartans Holly Strom (Calgary) led TWU with 20 points, however 18 of those came in the first half. Beyond Strom, the Spartans Schmidt had 11 points while Janelle Traber (Abbotsford, B.C.) and Laurissa Weigl (Stony Plain, Alta.) each had nine points. Strom also had a team-high seven rebounds.

After Veldman, it was Sara Simovic and Katlyn Olsen contributing 15 points each for Lethbridge. Simovic also had seven rebounds.

“To be honest, we’re only going to be as prepared as I prepare the team, so if we play unprepared, that’s on me as a coach,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “There are definitely some things that we have to work through, but I thought Veldman had a great game and slowing someone like her is something we are going to have to work on.

“To get a split this weekend is a positive sign for us. I don’t know if I would have predicted it being this split, but we’ll take it. I think in some ways, we did some good things today, but I just think our intensity level wasn’t quite the same as it was yesterday. They took us out of our style of play and we struggled and that’s another thing we’re going to have to focus on.”

The Pronghorns came out of the gate with the hot hand from beyond the arc, as they went three for three early on, with Mariah Miller, Kendra Lee and Olsen getting in on the action, to stake Lethbridge to a 13-6 lead. The Spartans responded with a 6-0 run to get within one point, but by the end of the quarter Lethbridge, who shot 61.3 per cent from the field, had restored its six-point lead, at 22-16.

Early in the second quarter, Lethbridge continued to control the contest as it built a 29-20 lead. However, with Strom leading the way with four points and a pair of assists, TWU went on an 8-0 run to make it a one-point game.

The Pronghorns once against went up by five points, at 35-30, after a Miller lay-up, but then the Spartans roared right back with eight straight points to end the half up 38-35. Strom finished the half with 18 points while Lethbridge’s Veldman had a team-high 12 for the Pronghorns.

The teams went back and forth in the third quarter until a 9-2 Pronghorns run midway through the quarter gave the visitors a 52-45 lead. While Strom was held pointless in the quarter, the Spartans closed to within five points, 54-49, with a Gordon lay-up at the buzzer. Veldman led the Pronghorns with 10 points in the third quarter alone.

The Pronghorns possessed the lead for much of the final 10 minutes, but the Spartans kept pushing and remained within striking distance down the stretch. But, after a Schmidt 3-pointer made it a one-point game, at 62-61, Lethbridge tallied six straight points, with a Sara Simovic lay-up capping the run to put the Pronghorns up by seven. The Spartans never got closer than five points as Lethbridge cruised to the victory.

The Spartans return to the court Nov. 8-9 when they will travel to play UBC while Lethbridge will be back home to host Manitoba.

Game Notes: Lethbridge shot 53.1 per cent from the field while TWU shot 40.9 per cent…Lethbridge outrebounded TWU 37-23.