LEWISTON, Idaho – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team lost 69-59 to Lewis-Clark State College in preseason action Friday.
Despite four Spartans hitting double digits in points, the Spartans were unable to keep up with the Eagles down the stretch in the second half as TWU (3-2) lost for just the second time in preseason.
The Spartans and LCSC were tied 41-41 midway through the fourth quarter, but a 12-2 Eagles run turned the game in the home side’s favour for good. TWU climbed back within six points, but it could get no closer.
TWU was led by Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.), who had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Kristen Ford (Okotoks, Alta.) who had 12 points and seven boards. First-years Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) and Jessica Brown (Langley, B.C.) were also key on the offence, collecting 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Eagles Caelyn Orlandi had a game-high 16 points for the Eagles.
“In some ways, this was the wake-up call that we needed to remind ourselves of how hard it is to go into someone else’s gym and get a win,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “We were forced to play perfect defense and if not it resulted in an instant call. So, playing 10 to 12 minutes of a 20 minute half in double bonus is a tough way to try to compete. But I think it’s the right lesson for us to learn at this point in time because we have the ability to correct some of the situations that we are prone to fouling in before it really counts.
“With three of our five weekends on the road this semester, we have to find a way to get the right things done defensively at the right time. We saw a lot more full-court pressure and zone, which we haven’t seen a lot of up until now, so it really provided us with the reps we need to become more precise in our passing, to make decisions faster, to execute in the half-court better and be a better team when our opponent slows us down.”
The Spartans were step for step with LCSC in the first half and earned a 23-22 lead with 1:37 left in the half. But three points late by the Eagles put the home team up 25-23 at the break.
Early in the second half, it was more of the same as the teams traded points until 41-41.
Then LCSC pulled away with a run that put the Eagles up by 10 points and, from there, they held on for the win.
“Despite the calls and the turnovers, we found a way to fight back towards the end but couldn’t narrow the 10-point gap for longer than one or two possessions,” Jean-Paul said. “We really look forward to playing them again tomorrow, taking care of the ball better, taking away some of their easy scoring looks more effectively and continuing to improve as a program.”
The teams will play a rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. in what will be TWU’s final preseason game.
The Spartans open their Canada West regular season Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Manitoba.