SPARTANS HEAD TO POSTSEASON ON FOUR GAME STREAK
LETHBRIDGE, Alberta – Third year forward Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) tied the Trinity Western points record with 35 points as she led the Spartans back to the post season with a 78-62 win over the University of Lethbridge Saturday night in Lethbridge, Alta.
The win moves the Spartans to seventh place tie with the University of Winnipeg at 8-12. TWU holds the tiebreaker having beaten the Wesmen twice, 74-73 and 73-50, earlier in the season.
“Tonight’s game was probably one of our toughest mental battles of the year. We found ways to take leads but Lethbridge fought back hard and made it a 40 minute battle. I’m really proud of how we hung on and showed composure at the end and with some outstanding performances and tough, tough minutes we were able to get the job done,” commented TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “We still have a lot to learn about ourselves and what we are capable of achieving on both sides of the floor, but there was definitely some growth and maturity that took place tonight and our program is going to benefit from that. We are excited to start the next phase and see where that takes us!”
In addition to Gordon’s numbers second year guard Jessie Brown (Langley, B.C.) picked up 13 points and second year forward Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) chipped in with 10 points. Forth year guard Luca Schmidt (Langley, B.C.) once again led the Spartans with 12 rebounds.
Freshman Katie Keith put a cap on a solid rookie season and led the ‘Horns with a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Elizabeth Buie matched Keith’s 14 points and Danielle Fritzke added 10 points in the loss.
Turnovers were a problem for TWU all night as they committed 25 turnovers to Lethbridge’s 15. Which gave the Pronghorns a 31-12 advantage with points off of turnovers.
The first quarter got off to a slow start, seeing the ‘Horns and Spartans having only one bucket each 2:45 into the game, and tied at five 4:45 into the opening quarter.
Both teams would find their groove, though, and finish the closely contested quarter, 14-13 in favour of the visiting Spartans.
The second quarter heated up, and saw more scoring. Unlike Friday night’s contest, the ‘Horns wouldn’t let the Spartans out of their crosshairs, and kept up with them offensively.
No runs were had by either team, and the half ended as a one-possession game, with the Spartans up 32-30 on the ‘Horns.
Gordon killed it for her Spartans, cashing in 17 points. Fourth year guard Natalie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) was second to her, with points. Danielle Fritzke and Zoe Dahl led the ‘Horns, with eight and seven points, respectively.
The Spartans won the rebound game, 23-17 in the half. They were more efficient with their shot attempts, too, going 46.4% from the field to the ‘Horns’ 32.3%. The ‘Horns topped the three-pointer category, going 33.3% to the Spartans’ 20.0%.
The ‘Horns didn’t go away in the third quarter, either, and actually took a five-point lead halfway through.
The Spartans had a lot on the line, though, and played a tough game, getting themselves back on top, at the end of the third, with the ‘Horns still hot on their tails, 54-52.
The Spartans finally got some separation from the ‘Horns in the fourth, leading by 11 just over half way through the quarter. They wouldn’t look back, and increased their lead to as much as 16.
The Spartans scored as much as they missed, going 50 percent from the field, but just 25 percent from the three-point line.
The ‘Horns shot 31.7 percent from the field, and 25 percent from the arch.
The Spartans dominated on rebounds, collecting 51 to the ‘Horns’ 32.
Trinity Western will now head to Victoria this week to open the Canada West play-offs against the University of Victoria Vikes. The best of three series starts Friday, February 26 at 7 p.m. Game two will go Saturday night at 7 p.m. and if necessary game three will go Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Game Notes: Gordon’s 35 points ties the TWU record held by former Spartan Taylor Stuart (’06) when she scored 35 against Regina on Feb. 4, 2005…the last time the Spartans were in the post season was in the 2008-09 season…