Spartans outscored late as they lose to Timberwolves

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November 16, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – After possessing a six-point lead after three quarters, the Trinity Western women’s basketball team couldn’t keep up with UNBC in the fourth quarter as the Timberwolves outscored the Spartans 21-10 over the last 10 minutes to escape with a 65-60 win Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

With the game tied 59-59, the Spartans went up 60-59 after a Holly Strom (Calgary) free throw, but UNBC’s Mercedes VanKoughnett dropped a jumper with 36 seconds left to give the Timberwolves a 61-60 advantage. From there, UNBC held TWU off the board and made all four of its free throws as it pulled away for the win.

The Spartans (1-5) possessed a lead after each quarter but, similar to Friday’s game, UNBC (3-3) rallied in the fourth to complete the weekend sweep.

This is the Timberwolves first ever road sweep since entering the CIS last season.

UNBC had four players in double-digits for points led by Emily Kaehn, who had 19 points. Jen Bruce and Sarah Robin each had 12 points and VanKoughnett had 10. VanKoughnett and Kaehn also each had 12 rebounds.

Strom, who had eight points Friday night, rebounded Saturday with a 21-point effort to go along with 13 rebounds. First-year Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) had nine points as well as four rebounds.

“I think the theme of missed opportunities is the same as last night but it just showed up in different spaces tonight,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “We had six to nine point leads multiple times in the first three quarters, but instead of going up by double digits, we let them crawl back into it. We tended to respond to their assertion but never really took over ourselves.

“I thought Holly responded well to yesterday’s game. She made a statement with how determined she was on defence and offence. I thought Kayla Gordon came in and gave us some really good looks and energy. Those two really wanted to win today’s game and we didn’t have that across the board. We’ve always had effort but it’s about effort in combination with execution. We worked hard but then couldn’t finish.”

The Spartans opened a 9-4 lead early in the first quarter only to see UNBC respond with an 8-0 run to take a 12-9 advantage midway through the frame. However, the Spartans came right back and finished the quarter on a 6-2 run that gave the home side a 15-14 lead after 10 minutes.

Strom led TWU with six points in the first quarter. Kaehn, going four for four from the field, led UNBC with eight points.

In the second quarter, TWU started with a 6-0 run to take a 21-14 lead. UNBC responded with an 11-3 run, and after a pair of made free throw from Kaehn, went ahead 25-24. But, with TWU Kayla Gordon coming alive late and tallying the final six points of the half, the Spartans finished the quarter on an 8-2 run and went into the break leading 32-27.

Strom continued to lead TWU with 10 points while Kaehn, with five points in the second quarter, had 13 of UNBC’s 27 points.

In the third quarter, TWU took a 39-31 lead after a Natalie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) 3-pointer, but as had been the case through the first half, UNBC battled back, getting to within two points at 39-37. But that’s as close as the visitors got in the quarter as a Laurissa Weigl (Stony Plain, B.C.) lay-up gave the Spartans a 41-37 lead and then TWU pulled away over the last two minutes, going up 50-44 at the end of the quarter.

The Timberwolves got out quick start in the fourth quarter and, after a VanKoughnett 3-pointer, went ahead 55-53. From there, it was back and forth the rest of the way. A Strom lay-up with 3:25 left in the quarter gave TWU a 59-57 lead. But UNBC’s Bruce earned a lay-up to tie it up 59-59. From there, UNBC outscored TWU 6-1 over the last 1:30.

The Spartans are back on the court next weekend when they will travel to play Alberta Nov. 21 and Saskatchewan Nov. 22. The Timberwolves will return home to host Brandon Nov. 22 and Regina Nov. 23.

Game Notes: UNBC had a 44-43 edge in rebounds…UNBC shot 38.5 per cent from the field while TWU shot 34.4 per cent…UNBC had 12 steals to TWU’s eight.