Spartans drop final home game of the season

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by Mark Janzen

February 13, 2014, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – Playing in its final home game of the regular season, the Trinity Western women’s basketball team dropped a 78-54 decision against No. 7 Fraser Valley Thursday at the Langley Events Centre.

Playing against a veteran UFV side, the Spartans did well to hang with the Cascades for the first quarter and trailed by just one point after 10 minutes. But the visitors took over in the second quarter and, until the game was well in hand, never slowed. The Cascades outscored a young Spartans lineup 26-13 in the second frame and kept their momentum rolling the rest of the way en route to the 24-point win.

On a night when the Spartans honoured their graduating seniors, Spartans Janelle Traber (Abbotsford, B.C.) had a team-high 14 points and five rebounds while Holly Strom (Calgary), who played just seven minutes in her return to the lineup after missing seven games due to injury, had two points and one rebound.

“It’s really great to celebrate what people have done in this program,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “For both of them it’s been a journey of self-discovery and a journey of a lot of hard work. Holly was a Canada West all-star last year and I think if she hadn’t been sidelined, she would have been on track for that again this year. As for Janelle, I think she has experienced some of the best basketball she has played in her career in her fifth year and I think that’s a special way for her to end her career.”

With just one game left on the schedule, the loss drops TWU’s regular season record to 5-16 while the win improves the Cascades to 16-5 and puts them one game up on UBC (15-5) for top spot in the Pacific Division.

The Cascades were led by Aieisha Luyken, who had a game-high 22 points, all of which were tallied in the first half. Sarah Wierks added 12 points and a game-high six rebounds.

For the Spartans, beyond Traber’s numbers, it was Laurissa Weigl (Stony Plain, Alta.), with eight points and four rebounds, and Natalie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.), with seven points, leading TWU offensively.

“We were playing a very good team a week before playoffs and so we experienced a very good team a week before playoffs,” Jean-Paul said. “We started the game playing a transition style and I think we had some success with that. But we’re a team of eight first and second year kids playing a team of nine fourth and fifth year kids and that obviously makes a huge difference. The exciting thing is that I think we saw, in UFV, what our program is going to look like in a few years and we just want to build on some of the highlights that was saw today.”

With TWU shooting 53.3 per cent from the field, the Spartans stayed with the high-flying Cascades throughout the opening quarter. Thanks to a balanced offence that saw six different Spartans scorers, TWU trailed by just one point, 19-18, after the first quarter. The Cascades Luyken kept the visitors afloat as she scored 11 of UFV’s 19 points.

In the second quarter, UFV took over the game, outscoring the Spartans 26-13. Shooting nine for 15 from the field in the quarter, the Cascades turned a 25-24 lead into a 45-28 advantage thanks to a 20-4 run. The Spartans scored three points late in the half to make it 45-31 at the break.

In the third quarter, the Cascades scored the first 13 points and went on to outscore TWU 24-10 by the end of the frame. Going 10 for 10 from the free throw line and shooting 43.8 per cent from the field, the Cascades opened a 28-point lead, 69-41, heading to the fourth quarter.

In the final quarter, TWU put together a quality effort down the stretch, outscoring the Cascades 13-9 over the final 10 minutes, but never threatened UFV’s lead. The Cascades

The Spartans are Cascades will play the back half of their home and home series Saturday in Abbotsford at 5 p.m.

Game Notes – UFV had a 38-37 edge in rebounds…TWU had 29 turnovers to UFV’s 18…UFV was 22 for 24 from the free throw line while TWU was 11 for 13…Trinity Western honoured graduating seniors Strom and Traber in a special post-game ceremony.