LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team scored the most points in a single game in program history as the Spartans beat Brandon 87-81 Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
With a last-second free throw, Luca Schmidt (Langley) capped the Spartans record-setting win with TWU’s 87th point, bettering the previous record of 86 points, which was set Nov. 4, 2006 also against Brandon.
Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) led the way for TWU (4-9) with 29 points and nine rebounds while Schmidt had a TWU record 12 assists to go with 13 points and seven rebounds as the Spartans held off a late Bobcats charge.
After Brandon (5-8) evened the score late in the third quarter, 61-61, the Spartans responded with an 18-1 run that put TWU up 79-62 midway through the final frame. Brandon crawled back to within four points, 80-76, but that would be as close as the Bobcats would get.
Shooting five for seven from 3-point range in the fourth quarter alone, TWU held off a hard-working Bobcats side down the stretch.
The Spartans Jessie Brown (Langley) finished with 16 points while Natalie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) had 14 points.
Brandon’s Keisha Cox had a team-high 23 points while Aleah Bridges added 16 points and 10 assists and Alyssa Montgomery had 12 points and eight boards.
“We’re really excited because we have been working hard and we’ve played such good teams in the last few weeks that we wanted to see the benefits of having played those teams,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “It really was a matter of everyone coming in and doing the things that they can do. This is a great way to start the weekend, but we need to be ready for another battle tomorrow night.”
The Spartans opened the game with their second most productive quarter of the year, racking up 26 points to take a six-point lead through 10 minutes. Ratzlaff led the way with seven points while Brandon’s Kylee Howard countered with six points. The Spartans first quarter effort was only bettered by the 27 points they put up against Winnipeg in the first quarter Nov. 21.
Shooting 51.4 per cent from the field, the Spartans kept the pace rolling in the second quarter, with Ratzlaff putting up another 10 points to help TWU open a 50-40 lead at the break. The Spartans 50-point half also marked TWU’s most offensive half in program history. The previous best was a 48-point effort against Thompson Rivers Jan. 29, 2010.
Early in the third quarter, TWU extended its lead to 54-43. However, an injury to Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) sent her to the sidelines and Brandon took advantage, clawing all the way back to tie it 61-61. With the Bobcats out-scoring TWU 21-13 in the quarter, it was suddenly a game going into the fourth.
Thanks in large part of four 3-pointers, the Spartans opened the final frame with a 16-1 run to open a 79-62 lead. The Bobcats closed the gap to four points with just over a minute to play, but the Spartans were able to salt the win away thanks to a late Schmidt 3-pointer and free throws.
“We’re still trying to learn not to put us in a situation where being up by 10 is the most anxiety were going to feel for the entire game,” Jean-Paul said. “Those are good problems to have. But it’s nice to be on the other side of it where we’re having success because of teamwork and team play. However obviously we have things to work on.”
The Spartans and Bobcats will play the rematch Saturday at 5 p.m. at the LEC.
Game Notes: Schmidt held TWU’s previous assist record of 10, which she earned once last year and once earlier this year on Nov. 21 against Winnipeg…TWU has a 17-3 record all-time against Brandon…Prior to last year, TWU hadn’t lost to Brandon since Nov. 24, 2000, when the Bobcats earned a 67-40 win in Langley…The last time Brandon was in Langley, the Bobcats lost 57-46 to TWU.