trinity western_spartans1

by Mark Janzen

December 30, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team dropped the first of two post-Christmas exhibition games, falling 65-41 to visiting Simon Fraser Monday at the Langley Events Centre.

The Clan broke the game open with a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter to take a 28-18 lead and from there, SFU (NCAA Div. II) never led by less than eight points en route to a 24-point win.

Simon Fraser’s Erin Chambers collected 12 points in the second quarter alone as she sparked the Clan after a lackluster opening 10 minutes that saw SFU go four for 19 from the field.

With a 15-point halftime lead and a 14-point edge after the third quarter, the Clan pushed its double-digit advantage beyond 20 points down the stretch, outscoring TWU 14-4 in the final frame, to improve its overall record to 9-2 on the season. The Spartans, who are 1-9 in Canada West league play, now possess a 4-14 overall record.

The Spartans were led by Holly Strom (Calgary), who finished with 12 points, a game-high 13 rebounds, four blocks and three steals. Janelle Traber (Abbotsford, B.C.), had a team-high 14 points to go with six rebounds while Laurissa Weigl (Stony Plain, Alta.) added seven points and four boards.

The Clan was led by Chambers, who finished with 17 points and three blocks while Chelsea Reist had 14 points and four boards. Katie Lowen had a team-high 10 rebounds to go with nine points and a game-high nine steals.

After shooting just 21.1 per cent in the opening quarter, SFU was markedly better the rest of the way as the Clan shot 40.4 per cent over the final three quarters. Meanwhile, the Spartans, who shot 18.2 per cent from the field in the first 10 minutes, finished the game shooting 22.8 per cent.

The Spartans were impressive on the glass, outrebounding SFU 53-42, but a 29-15 turnover deficit proved to be their undoing.

“I’m very happy with how well we rebounded,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “That tells me that we’re a little hungrier than we were in the first semester. They did take advantage of every mistake we made and obviously we’re going to have to limit our turnovers. But overall, I’m happy with the effort against a very good team.

“This is a great game for us in terms of getting ready for the second semester. They’re well-organized, they have some very skilled players and they hurt you every time you make a mental mistake. To be able to play a stronger second half in terms of doing the little things better, this is definitely the kind of game we needed.”

The Clan led 10-9 after the first quarter with Reist collecting six points for SFU while the Spartans countered with five of their eight points coming from the free throw line.

With the Clan up 19-18 midway through the second quarter, SFU’s Kia Van Laare sparked a 9-0 run. That made it 28-18. From there, SFU pushed its lead to 15 points by halftime. Chambers led the Clan with 12 points at the break while Traber countered with six for TWU.

The Spartans tallied the first six points of the second half to close the gap to nine points at 37-22, but the Clan quickly responded and by the end of the third quarter had reestablished a 14-point lead, 51-37.

With a young roster on the floor for TWU for much of the fourth quarter, the Spartans battled hard over the final 10 minutes, but the Clan extended its lead to 24 points by the final horn.

“I thought our young players responded well to their opportunity,” Jean-Paul said. “The deeper we can get and the more experience we can get in these situations, the better we’re going to be.”

The Spartans will play the second of their two post-Christmas exhibition contests Tuesday when they host Thompson Rivers at 2 p.m. Trinity Western resumes its Canada West schedule Jan. 10-11 when it travels to play Manitoba and Winnipeg.

Simon Fraser is back on the court Jan. 2 when it will travel to play Montana State University-Billings.

Game Notes: Trinity Western went to the free throw line 22 times and made 15 while SFU was six for eight from the line…this is the third year in a row the Spartans and Clan have played a post-Christmas contest with SFU winning the two previous meetings, 87-55 in 2012 at home and 56-50 in 2011 at the LEC.