Spartans set program points record with win over Bisons


LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western set a program record for points in a game as the Spartans ran away with a 93-71 win over Manitoba Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.


A day after setting the program’s rebounding record (55), TWU’s offence came to life in a manner never before seen by the Langley-based side, with the Spartans bettering the previous record by six points.


The Spartans had four players hit double digits in points, with Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) leading the way with 25 points while helping TWU (9-5) to its fifth win in its last six outings.


Jessie Brown (Langley) had 16 points and Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) had 15 points. Natalie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) earned the first double-double of her TWU career, with 10 points and 10 rebounds.


“I’m really proud of the statement that our team made today about our program,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “I feel like we were playing our style and our game today. We have three or four players who can be 20-point scorers and to get them to be able to score all in one night has been a challenge, but today they did a great job of finding each other. This group is unselfish with the basketball and it bodes well to have a few different weapons going into every single game.”


The Bisons Taylor Randall led the visitors with 20 points, while Brittanie Parisien had 15 points and Keziah Brothers added 12 points.


Scoring 28 points in the first quarter alone, the Spartans were in control from start to finish with their offence shooting 48.3 per cent from the field.


TWU’s attack also took advantage of 43 trips to the free throw line, shooting 72.1 per cent for one third of the Spartans points.


The win puts the Spartans four games above the .500 mark for just the second time in program history. Midway through the 2008-09 season, TWU was 11-7.


The Spartans also won the rebounding battle in convincing fashion, out-boarding Manitoba 47-29.


“I thought we had more focus on the little things tonight,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “There were a few defensive situations yesterday that we didn’t handle well and today, especially in the second half, I thought we did a good job of making a statement from start to finish about how we were going to play.


“Every time we have a game in which we feel like we didn’t perform as well as we should, I feel like the team responds well to what I am asking them to do the next day.”


The first quarter was all Spartans as they shot 50 per cent from the field and were 10 for 11 from the free throw line to build a 28-11 lead. Ratzlaff had a team-high 11 points, equaling the Bisons entire team total through 10 minutes.


Manitoba closed the Spartans lead to just nine points midway through the second quarter at 32-23 only to see TWU push its advantage up 15 by the end of the half, 48-33. After shooting 20 per cent from the field in the first quarter, the Bisons found their rhythm in the second quarter, shooting 45 per cent. Ratzlaff continued to lead TWU offensively as she had 17 points at the break, while Parisien had a team-high nine points for the visitors.


Both teams shot well in the third quarter, with TWU going 7 for 12 (58.3 per cent) and Manitoba shooting 8 for 15 (53.3 per cent). The difference was that the Spartans knocked down 11 free throws, while the Bisons only had six, as TWU outscored Manitoba 27-22 to take a 75-55 lead into the final frame.


With the game well in hand for the Spartans, the only question that the fourth quarter had to answer was if TWU would set the program mark for points. With a 3-pointer from Carkner making it 88-62, the Spartans did just that.


TWU is back on the court next weekend when the Spartans travel to play Victoria Jan. 27-28. Manitoba returns home to host UNBC Jan. 27-28.


Game Notes: TWU’s previous points record was set last year when the Spartans beat Brandon 87-81 on Jan. 29…the Spartans have won seven straight regular season games against Manitoba…the last time the Bisons beat TWU was Nov. 12, 2011 when they earned a 59-56 victory…TWU has never finished a regular season with a .500 record or better…the Spartans best year came in 2008-09 when they finished the year 11-12.

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