TWU Spartans lose to No 4 Pandas on the road

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November 21, 2013, EDMONTON (ISN) – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team was unable to overcome the No. 4 Alberta Pandas on the road as the Spartans fell 79-52 in a rare Thursday night contest at the Saville Community Sports Centre.

After trailing by just two points following the first quarter, 17-15, the Spartans were outscored 16-8 in the second quarter and, in the second half, were unable to rebound against a strong Pandas side as the home team pulled away for a 17-point win.

The victory is Alberta’s fourth in a row as it improve to 5-2 on the season and keeps the Pandas in a tie for first in the Prairie Division along with the Saskatchewan Huskies.

The Spartans, meanwhile, have now dropped six games in a row as they fell to 1-6 on the season.

Trinity Western was led by fifth-year forward Holly Strom (Calgary), who registered a game-high 15 points, while fourth-year Laurissa Weigl (Stony Plain, Alta.) added eight points and five rebounds.

For Alberta, it was Renee Bryne leading the way with 14 points while Andria Carlyon added 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks and Megan Van de Kraats chipped in with 10 points and four boards. Guard Jessilyn Fairbanks banked eight points and a game-high five steals.

As a team, TWU turned the ball over 26 times to Alberta’s 17. The Pandas tallied 23 points off Spartans turnovers while TWU managed just nine points off Alberta turnovers.

“We had a learning experience tonight playing a very good Alberta team,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “They have a lot of maturity and a lot of size and they have the ability to use both. We came into this game with realistic expectations of trying to improve on some of the things we haven’t done well. I thought we demonstrated that in the first half and did some good things. It’s just a really tough team to play a solid 40 minutes against but we fought hard and I’m proud of how we played.”

The Spartans also played with much more than basketball on their minds as they took to the court without first-year Brooke Pattyn (Winnipeg), who was hospitalized earlier this week with recent health issues.

“In the big scheme of things, after the game, we had a chance to pray for Brooke,” Jean-Paul said. “As a group, we have talked about being courageous. As tough as we battled on the basketball court, our thoughts and prayers are with Brooke. We see our team as a family and we want to make sure that she knows that we were thinking about her and playing hard for her tonight.

“These are moments that I need to recognize that my ability to build into these young women is so much bigger than being just a basketball coach. Ultimately making sure that they’re taken care of and staying healthy and growing as people is so much more important to us in the long run.”

After an up-and-down opening quarter, in which the Pandas outscored their guests 17-15, Alberta limited TWU to eight points in the second quarter and just 29 points combined in the second half. The Pandas also racked up 15 steals and 44 rebounds in the contest, beating TWU in those categories by eight and 16 respectively.

The Pandas dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Spartans 16-8, and then carried that over into the third quarter where they blitzed TWU for 25 points and an insurmountable 58-39 advantage.

Another 21 points in the fourth quarter lifted the Pandas to their highest offensive output of the season.

The Spartans continue their Prairie road trip Friday when they will travel to play Saskatchewan at 6:15 p.m. The Pandas will wrap up their weekend Friday when they take on the undefeated Fraser Valley Cascades.

Game Notes: TWU shot 39.1 per cent from the field while Alberta was 41.2 per cent…Alberta had a 41-24 edge in rebounds.

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