LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western’s Ashleigh Barnes (Oceanside, Calif.) came off the bench in the third quarter and was a game-changer, as she helped spark the Spartans to a 70-57 win over Brandon in Game 2 of their Canada West Play-In series Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
Barnes tallied eight points and grabbed four rebounds in the third quarter alone to help push the Spartans ahead for good as they claimed a 57-39 lead going to the fourth quarter. With the contest well in hand, the Spartans held off Brandon in the fourth quarter to pick up their first ever playoff win on home court.
TWU and Brandon will play a decisive Game 3 Saturday at 7 p.m. (PT) at the LEC. Both teams will be looking to win a Canada West playoff series for the first time in each of their programs’ history.
Beyond Barnes, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds in just 16 minutes, the Spartans were led by Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.), who had 22 points, five steals, five rebounds and two blocked shots. Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) had 14 points and nine boards for TWU. Jessie Brown (Langley) was held to seven points for the second night in a row.
The win is the Spartans second playoff victory in program history. Last year’s Game 2 win over Victoria marked TWU’s first ever postseason victory.
“I think we came into today’s game with a very different mindset than we did for yesterday’s game,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “I don’t think it was being the higher ranked team or hosting, it was just that we weren’t ready to fight yesterday. I thought we came with a fighter’s mentality today and it showed on the assertiveness of getting to the rim. It showed on the effort to get to the boards, which we still need to work through a bit. But I thought there was an intensity level that they kept finding over and over again.”
Keisha Cox once again led the Bobcats with 13 points, while Amy Williams had a double double, with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Brandon was 13 for 14 from the free throw line, while TWU was 11 for 16, but the Bobcats had 15 fewer trips to the line than in Thursday’s Game 1 win.
TWU shot 42.4 per cent from the field and Brandon shot 33.9 per cent. Neither team found any sort of 3-point rhythm, with TWU going three for 20 and the Bobcats shooting four for 14.Brandon had 31 turnovers to TWU’s 18, but the visitors did outrebound the Spartans 45-34. TWU scored 30 points off of turnovers, while Brandon scored just 13 points off of turnovers.
“To score that many points off of turnovers is a significant number for us,” Jean-Paul said. “I thought our team responded well to the corrections that we talked about. We played as a unit and a unified intensity. It was exciting to see everybody play a part in that.”
The Spartans jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first quarter, only to have Brandon respond with a 10-0 run to take a five-point edge. However, TWU came right back with a 10-2 run to go ahead before the Bobcats tallied four late points to nab an 18-17 lead through the first quarter.
The Bobcats went up 27-21 midway through the second quarter, but TWU finished the half on another 10-2 run to earn a 31-29 lead at the break. After netting only five points in Game 1, Gordon had a team-high 12 points by halftime, while Cox continued finished with nine first-half points.
The third quarter was all Spartans and, on the strength Barnes, TWU outscored the Bobcats 26-10 to open a 57-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter. With the Spartans shooting 55.3 per cent in the quarter, TWU ended the frame on a 17-2 run.
The Bobcats had a small push back in the fourth quarter, but never threatened the Spartans lead.
Game Notes: Whoever wins this series will travel to play No. 2-ranked Regina in the Canada West Quarter-Finals…prior to this series, the last time TWU and Brandon met was in late-January of 2016, when the teams split their regular season series…the Spartans Ratzlaff went down with a leg injury late in the game and did not return.