TWU SPARTANS CAN’T HOLD OFF TIMBERWOLVES
PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia – Rookie Madison Landry scored seven straight points as the UNBC Timberwolves overcame a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Trinity Western Spartans 82-81 Saturday night at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre in Prince George, B.C..
“Tonight was a tough battle that we ended up on the losing end of in terms of momentum and offensive decision-making. I thought we followed the game plan for the first three quarters and especially for a few stretches really maintained the game by not stopping the clock,” commented TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “But when the clock stops every 20 seconds for the last 8 minutes it really prevented us from playing with tempo and finding the scoring looks that got us there in the first place.”
“This will be a good test to see our resolve and commitment to getting better from tough losses. To come out with a split is one positive, it would have been nice to get both but now it’s on to the next.”
The Timberwolves, who trailed by 12 with under five minutes to play in the game finished on a 14-3 run to earn their first win on the season and move to 1-5 in Canada West conference play. The loss drops the Spartans to 4-2 on the year.
Vasaliki Louka led the way with 19 points for UNBC, including three foul shots down the stretch. Maria Mongomo had 17 and Landry finished with 16.
Kylie Pozniak got the rally started with an old fashioned three-point play to cut the lead to nine and set the tone for the comeback. The formula: driving to the basket, making foul shots and playing aggressive defence.
With 1:10 to go, and the Timberwolves still down six Landry took over. First she made two free throws, then with 24 seconds left took a feed from Louka and drained a three to make it a one-point game.
Nine seconds later she stole the ball on defence, ran the length of the court and was fouled driving to the basket. Two more made free throws later and it was UNBC in front for the first time since the first half.
For the Spartans it was a disappointing finish after overcoming an early deficit and taking control with a fast-paced offence and a defence that limited UNBC’s top offence threats Louka and Maria Mongomo to a combined two points in the third quarter.
“If you look at the third quarter, when we were able to maintain the tempo we had the game in hand,” Spartans head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that many three-point plays in one quarter, that was extraordinary.”
Third year forward Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) led the Spartans with 21 points while fourth year forward Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) added 20 and nine rebounds.
“There’s a lot for us to learn from this,” Jean-Paul said. “We’ve had some solid wins, we’ve had some battles throughout this entire first semester, a game like this is going to give us something to reevaluate our shot selection at the end of the game, how we chose to play with the lead, what I ran coming out of bounds, my timeouts, who we had on the floor, those are all things as a coaching staff we have to go back and reevaluate.”
The Timberwolves got off to a hot start as Louka won the opening tip and proceeded to score the game’s first basket. The third-year forward was perfect from the floor and the line in the opening quarter, scoring nine of UNBC’s 23 first quarter points. Her counterpart Ratzlaff was her equal, scoring nine of Trinity Western’s 21 points and didn’t miss from the floor or the charity stripe either.
Both teams had their best runs of the opening half in the second quarter. The Spartans scored seven straight to open their biggest lead of the half at five points, but UNBC came right back with six straight to regain the edge. The lead changed eight times in the half, with the Spartans taking a five-point lead into the break at 46-41.
Trinity Western tightened up on defence in the third quarter and the Timberwolves offence hit a dry spell as the visitors built a 15-point lead at 67-52.
The Timberwolves hit the road next weekend as they visit the University of the Fraser Valley for games on Friday and Saturday.
The Spartans are back at home and welcome Regina for a doubleheader Friday and Saturday.
SPARTANS DROP TWO IN PRINCE GEORGE TO TIMBERWOLVES
After a solid first half the Trinity Western Spartans were outscored 33-15 by the UNBC Timberwolves in the third quarter as the Spartans dropped an 85-70 decisions to the Timberwolves Saturday night at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre in Prince George, B.C.
TWU, who had trailed by three points, 31-28, at the half falls to 2-4 on the season with the loss, while UNBC improves to the same 2-4 record.
“I thought that our team played a very focused first half. We had some really good offensive possessions and defended the ball really well,” said TWU head coach Aaron Muhic. “We did not come out strong in the third quarter with too many turnovers and were not able to answer there scoring. We really need to take better care of the ball over 40 minutes.”
“Even though we did not come out on top I was very proud of our effort and energy, especially in the fourth quarter. If we could have taken better care of the ball the score could have been different.”
Three point shooting and turnovers proved to be the difference in the Spartans loss. UNBC finished the night going 11-34 from behind the arc, while TWU finished 6-20. The Spartans also committed 22 turnovers to the Timberwolves 15.
Marcus MacKay was one of the few Timberwolves to have success early on, scoring nine of the team’s 18 first-quarter points and finished with a game-high 26. He made four of his six three-pointers in the third quarter as the Timberwolves turned a three-point lead at the break into a 21-point lead after 30 minutes.
Vaggelis Loukas, who logged 31 minutes with Austin Chandler out of the lineup with an injury, scored 19 points and was a force on defence.
James Agyeman contributed 10 assists to the offensive effort.
Third year forward Max Viitala (Melbourne, Australia) led the Spartans with 12 points, fourth year forward Peter Spangehl (Surrey, B.C.) with 11, and third year guard Vartan Tanielian (Surrey, B.C.) had 10.
“Peter and Max were real bright spots for us off the bench. Both of them rebounded well and scored for us,” commented Muhic.
Trinity Western finished the first quarter strong and held an 18-16 lead after 10 minutes. The Spartans led by as many as six in the second quarter, but weren’t able to match the Timberwolves in the second half.
UNBC travels to the University of the Fraser Valley next week for games Friday and Saturday, while Trinity Western hosts Regina for a pair of games.
Match Notes: TWU finished the game outrebounding UNBC 42-32 and had the edge in steals, 6-5, and blocks, 3-1…
SPARTANS EXTEND WINNING STREAK WITH SWEEP OF GRIFFINS
The Trinity Western Spartans extended their Canada West winning streak to 13 matches with a 3-0 win over the MacEwan Griffins Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C. The win improves the No. 2 Spartans to 6-0 in Canada West conference play this season, while the loss drops the Griffins to 0-8.
Fifth year outside Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) with 10 kills, five blocks, and four digs and second year outside Jacob Kern (Edmonton) with seven kills and three digs led the Spartans attack. While Max Vriend with nine kills, and four digs and Christian Sides with eight kills led the Griffins offence.
TWU fourth year setter Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg) guided the Spartans with 21 set assists, while Josh Peters led the Griffins with 18 assists.
The Spartans attack never got going as they finished with a 19.7 percent efficiency (31-16-76), while the Griffins finished at six percent (29-24-83). In last night’s 3-0 win Trinity Western hit at a much higher 32.4 percent.
“We had a real lack of focus and lack of body language. Which is frustrating because we have been putting an emphasis on those things, and we very much had an emphasis on those tonight. We were trying, but I thought we were past the point of trying on those things,” commented TWU head coach Ben Josephson. “The fact that we are still trying means that we are not good at those things yet. But we are not, so we will keep working on it.”
“Fun and togetherness are things that are part of our group and that wasn’t evident tonight. When you don’t showcase who you are it is hard to claim that as your identity when you are not consistently that way,” said Josephson. “But I’ve been please with those things for the most part this season and finding a way to win on your bad day is a positive.”
In the opening set MacEwan was the slightly better of the two teams as they went into the technical time out with a 16-15 lead. But out of the break the Spartans had the better of the Griffins as they used a 10-2 run to take the opening set 25-18. TWU hit for 27.3 percent (10-4-22), while MacEwan hit at 8.3 percent (9-7-24).
In the second set the Spartans looked to be in control as they jumped out to an impressive five point lead, 12-7. But the lead quickly evaporated as MacEwan tied the set up at 16-16 coming out of the break. The Griffins took a 21-20 lead late, but the Spartans finished with a 5-2 run to take the second set 25-23.
Trinity Western once again jumped out to the early lead, 10-6, in the third set. But MacEwan took advantage of TWU errors and held a 16-15 lead heading into the technical timeout. The teams remained tied at 18-18. But with the Spartans up 20-19, TWU was able to get separation with a three point service run from Kern to take a four point, 23-19, lead. The Griffins closed to 23-21, but TWU took the final two points to take the set 25-21 and the match 3-0.
Next up for the Spartans is a home and away series with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. TWU will be at UBC on Friday, November 25, with match time set for 12 pm PST. Then the two teams will match up again on Saturday, November 26 in Langley, BC. Match time is set for1:30 p.m. PST at the Langley Events Centre. Both matches can be seen live on Canadawest.TV. The Griffins will now return home to host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 7 p.m. MST.
Match Notes: The last time TWU lost was, 3-1, in the opening match of the 2016 Canada West quarter finals… the Spartans have only dropped two sets this season, 18-2… TWU finished with eight team blocks, while MacEwan finished with three blocks…the Spartans had eight service aces, while the Griffins had three…