Story and Photos by Chrisitan J. Stewart (ISN)
With files from Vikes Communications
January 27, 2017, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Trinity Western Spartans jumped out to an early lead and then hung on for a 64-60 win over the UVic Vikes in U Sports Canada West women’s basketball action Friday night at the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria.
The Spartans win snapped the Vikes win streak at six and pulled the Spartans into a sixth place tie with the Vikes in the Canada West standings with identical 10-5 records.
The Vikes, who shot just 25 percent (8 for 32) from the field over the first half of the game, must have felt like they were shooting on one of those carnival midway game baskets, where the ball comes close to going in, but never does, while the Spartans, even though they too only shot 29% over the first two quarters, got enough favourable bounces to take a 28-19 lead into the half.
The Vikes would regroup at half-time and come out smoking to start the third quarter, pulling to within one at 28-27 with 7:42 left in the frame, but the Spartans would stem the tide to take a 43-37 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Vikes would continue to battle, once again whittling the score to within two, 60-58, with just over a minute to play, but a pair of potential game-tying free throws that were uncharacteristically missed by Jenna Bugiardini proved costly, as a few seconds later, the Spartans Kayla Gordon hit a pair of free throws of her own to clinch the Spartans victory.
“There is a lot to learn from that game, especially in the end of game scenarios,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair. “We never really gained control even when we started a run in the third quarter, we just handed it right back to them.”
“Our decision making when we play with pace has to be better because that helped us but also hurt us,” added Sinclair. “There were times we made poor decisions with the ball because we were trying to go too fast.”
Spartans head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul was happy with her team’s performance. “To come into Victoria and get a win is really hard to do so I’m really proud of the team,” she said following the game. “They are believing in what they are capable of doing and knocking down some really difficult shots.”
“The team has been so unselfish, everyone is celebrating each other’s big games,” added JeanPaul. “We’ve really been able to take advantage of multiple people showing up and they are getting it done as a team, so that’s what’s most important.”
The Spartans were led by Jessie Brown, who was the highest scorer on either team, managing 20 points in 33 minutes on the court, including 12 points from the three-point line. Natalie Carkner made some important baskets down the stretch to put up 17 points, while Tessa Ratzlaff has 12 points and nine rebounds. While the Vikes were able to keep Ratzlaff, second in Canada West scoring, to well below her season average, Brown and Carkner stepped up to fill the scoring role and power the Spartans win.
For the Vikes thirdyear player Kristy Gallagher drove her way to the hoop for 16 points on sevenfor13 shooting to lead the team. Jenna Bugiardini picked up 14 points and 18 rebounds, nine on the offensive end, and Nicole Karstein finished the game with ten points and eight rebounds.
One team will move ahead of the other Saturday night when these teams do battle again inside the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 pm and the game can be watched live on canadawest.tv