The Canada-West playoffs will be starting tonight with #7 Trinity-Western Spartans hosting #10 Brandon Bobcats in game one of their CW Play-In Series. This is the first meeting between the two schools this season. It will be an historical night for TWU as it is the first time in school history that they have hosted a playoff game. It is also an historical night for the Bobcats because they are making their first CW playoff appearance since join the conference in 1999.
#7 TWU Spartans vs. #10 Brandon Bobcats
The Spartans are coming off a season where they had a record of 12-8 and finished seventh in the CW standings. They ended the Canada-West regular season on sour note losing their final two games to UBC Thunderbirds. The Bobcats had a record of 8-12 this season and finished 10th in the Canada-West standings. The Bobcats ended their regular season splitting a series with Manitoba Bisons.
The Spartans on offense are led by third-year players’ duo of forward, Tessa Ratzlaff and guard, Jessie Brown. Ratzlaff averaged 16.7 points per a game, 4th in Canada-West and scored 318 points in 19 games this season. She connect 130/258 of her shots this season which was second in the conference. She averaged 7.4 rebounds and had 140 rebounds. Jessie Brown averaged 15.1 points per a game and 302 points. She averaged 2.7 rebounds per a game and 54 rebounds in 20 games. Brown was one of the best three-point shooters in Canada-West this season as she led the conference in three made with 61. She was third in 3pt% with 42.1%. The Spartans as a team averaged 68.3 points per a game which was sixth in CW.
The Bobcats were led by their duo of senior guards, Keisha Cox and Mikaela Stanton in scoring this season. Cox averaged 17.9 points per a game, 4th in the conference and 358 points which third in Canada-West. She averaged 7.2 rebounds per a game and 143 rebounds in 20 games. She was third in the conference in free-throws made with 88. Stanton averaged 10.4 points per a game and 207 points in 20 games. She had 46 rebounds. She was fifth in FT% with 85.2%. The Bobcats this season averaged 65.5 points per a game which was ninth in CW.
The Spartans on defense held its opponents to 67.1 points per a game and force it opponents to commit 18.7 turnovers per a game. The Spartans held its opponents to shooting 40.2 %. A key force on defense for the Spartans was fifth-year guard, Natalie Carkner who averaged 2.1 steals per a game. On the other side, the Bobcats held its opponents to 71.3 points per a game and their opponents averaged 20.4 turnovers per a game. Opposing teams shot 39.7% against them. Cox averaged 3.7 steals per a game which led the team.
Why the Bobcats could win–
Keisha Cox will demonstrate why she is likely a Canada-West first team all-star. Cox has the potential to win games for Bobcats. Cox has hit double-digit points in all but four games this year. The other thing for the Bobcats need to do to beat TWU, is to get secondary scoring which will come from the likes of junior forward, Lauren Anderson, senior forward, Amy Williams and Stanton. Anderson has been a key player for the Bobcats from the bench as she was third on the team in scoring averaging 9.4 points per a game. She scored 187 points in 20 games. Williams in 20 games this year, averaged 8.9 points per a game and scored 170 points. The Bobcats will need to find a way to shutdown TWU guard, Jessie Brown from downtown. The Bobcats were terrible on defending the three-point shooting as they allowed 120 threes and opponents shot 31.1%, both numbers were near the bottom in the conference.
Why the Spartans could win–
Ratzlaff will be too much to handle for Bobcats defenders. Ratzlaff has scored 20 or more points in her five of her last 12 games including a 31-point performance against Winnipeg Wesmen. Ratzlaff ended the CW regular season hot as she scored double-digits points in the Spartans final four games. If Ratzlaff is not doing the damage, Brown is. Brown has the potential to win games for the Spartans with her three-pointing shooting but she is also dangerous from anywhere on the court as well. The Spartans also have a third weapon with fourth-year forward, Kayla Gordon. Gordon led the CW in FG % with 53.2%. She averaged 14.1 points per a game and scored 282 points in 20 games this year. The Spartans will be tough to beat in CW playoffs with their trio of stars.