TWU Spartans host Fraser Valley Thursday

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by Mark Janzen

February 12, 2014, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team will play its final home game of the season Thursday as it will host No. 7 Fraser Valley at 6 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

The game will be streamed live at twu.canadawest.tv.

The Spartans will honour their graduating senior athletes Holly Strom (Calgary) and Janelle Traber (Abbotsford, B.C.) in a special post-game ceremony.

Trinity Western is coming off a spilt last weekend with Mount Royal while UFV earned a weekend sweep against UNBC.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (5-15) 

  • CIS ranking: NR
  • Pacific Division standings: 5th
  • Last weekend: MRU 61-57 W, 69-54 L
  • Streak: 1 loss

Canada West Stats

  • Scoring Offense: 58.4/game (13th)
  • Scoring Defense: 67.6/game (11th)
  • Field Goal Percentage: 36.3 (10th)
  • 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: 25.1 (13th)
  • Rebounds: 39.2/game (9th)
  • Steals: 9.3/game (9th)
  • Assists: 10.9/game (11th)
  • Blocked Shots: 2.1/game (10th)

LEARNING LESSONS

The last time the Spartans were at the LEC, they played No. 4 ranked Regina and lost by 40 points. This time, it’ll be the No. 7 Cascades providing the competition but it certainly won’t be much easier as UFV lost by just two points in its meeting with Regina. TWU coach Cheryl Jean-Paul talked about how the game against Regina gave the Spartans an idea of where they need to get to. This weekend will be a chance to put some of those lessons into practice.

SPRING SUCCESS

After winning just one game in the fall semester, the Spartans have seen their hard work come to fruition since the Christmas break. Trinity Western has gone 4-6 since the holidays and has won three of its last seven outings. A win over the favoured Cascades would be a major upset, but the Spartans have shown that they can, at times, keep up with the top teams.

GOODBYE HOLLY

Spartans fans will have one last chance to see Holly Strom play at the LEC when she takes to the court Thursday. The graduating senior will go down as one of the Spartans best women’s basketball players of all-time. While she’s been held to just 13 games this year due to injury, she enters this weekend averaging 17.4 points per game. After an extraordinary performance last season, Strom will leave TWU holding the TWU season record for points per game, rebounds per game, blocks per game, total points, total rebounds and total blocks.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • Janelle Traber – The fifth-year guard will be playing her last game at the LEC and enters the weekend averaging 10.5 points per game. She has also been shooting 84.6 per cent from the free throw line this year.
  • Kayla Gordon – After hitting double-digits in points in four of six games, Gordon was held to just two points in 22 minutes in last Saturday’s game against Mount Royal. Expect a turnaround game in her final home game of the year.
  • Holly Strom – She hasn’t played since Jan. 17, but she’s gearing up to get back in the lineup against UFV. She’s put on a show for Spartans fans throughout her career and she has one more chance to do so Thursday.

FRASER VALLEY CASCADES (15-5)

  • CIS ranking: No. 7
  • Pacific Division standings: 1st (tied)
  • Last weekend: UNBC 79-63 W, 88-51 W
  • Streak: 3 wins
  • Canada West Stats
  • Scoring Offense: 70.6/game (3rd)
  • Scoring Defense: 54.0/game (2nd)
  • Field Goal Percentage: 39.5 (7h)
  • 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: 29.3 (7th)
  • Rebounds: 40.1/game (8th)
  • Steals: 12.1/game (1st)
  • Assists: 16.5/game (2nd)
  • Blocked Shots: 3.0/game (4th)

RACE FOR FIRST

Coming into the final weekend of the year, the Cascades are tied for first in the Pacific Division with Victoria and just one game ahead of third place UBC. The difference between finishing first and finishing second is huge. A first place finish will allow the team to avoid one of Alberta, Regina or Saskatchewan – all of which are ranked in the top six in the CIS. Two wins this weekend will guarantee the Cascades top spot, but a split might put first place in peril.

RAMPANT THIEVERY

All season, the Cascades have been queens of thievery, leading Canada West with 12.1 steals per game. Eight times, UFV has earned 10 or more steals in a single game. Courtney Bart had a season-high six steals for UFV in last Friday’s game against UNBC.

BALANCED ATTACK

The Cascades have eyes on returning to the CIS national championship this year and if they are to get there, it will be thanks to their balanced scoring. Fraser Valley has eight players averaging at least six points per game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • Sarah Wierks – She leads the team in both scoring with 11.9 points per game and rebounding, with 8.3 boards per game. She is second in Canada West in offensive rebounds with 4.0 per game.
  • Aieisha Luyken – With 4.4 assists per game, Luyken is fourth in the conference. She’s also averaging 10.2 points per game and had a team-high 18 points last Saturday against UNBC. She’s taken a team-high 124 3-point attempts this year.
  • Kayli Sartori – She is averaging 10.7 points per game and is one of three Cascades averaging double digit points. With 11 blocks, she trails only Sarah Wierks, who has 13, amongst Cascades.

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