VICTORIA – For the first time in the 2017-18 Canada West season the UVic Vikes women’s basketball team has tasted defeat after the Trinity Western Spartans pulled away late to defeat UVic by a score of 76-68 in Langley, B.C. on Nov. 10.

The loss moves the Vikes to 4-1 on the season, while the Spartans improve to that very same mark of 4-1.

Third-year forward Marissa Dheensaw continued her great start to the year for the Vikes as she put up 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the team. Rookie Ashlyn Day also recorded a double-double, going for 15 points and 10 rebounds in the game. Fourth-year guard Amira Giannattasio rounded out the top-scorers for the Vikes, putting up 12 points in her 32 minutes of action.

A pair of veterans led the way for the Spartans as fourth-years Jessie Brown and Tessa Ratzlaff recorded 22 and 20 points respectively.

The Spartans defence was tough on the night, limiting the Vikes to just 33.8 per cent from the floor while the team from Langley also had the edge on the glass, pulling down 51 boards compared to the Vikes 42.

“The frustrating thing is that we came into the game knowing that that is one of their strengths,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair of the Spartans rebounding advantage. “The 15 offensive boards really hurt, that’s what they average and that’s what we gave up, we got out-competed to a lot of those balls.”

A 14-4 run in favour of Trinity Western started the game as the Vikes struggled to find their groove offensively in the early going and the Spartans held a 20-13 lead after the first quarter.

“It was the slow start over and over again that hurt,” said Sinclair. “We weathered the storm in the first half and then came out in the third quarter and did the exact same thing. That second half slow start hurt us even more.”

It was the Vikes turn to heat up at the start of the second and they were able tie it back up, 22-22, for the first time in the game with 6:48 left in the half.

From there the Spartans wrestled back control of the game as they ended the quarter up 54-48.

A three-pointer from Dheensaw with five minutes left to play tied the game up 63-63, but that was as close as the Vikes would come on the night as the Spartans rattled off the next 11 points in a row to pull away for good.

“Our defence let us down after we tied the game in the fourth quarter but even with that said we had a chance to be in the game with a few minutes left. but we are not getting the job done defensively or on the boards,” said Sinclair.

The Vikes will get their chance to rebound from their first loss of the season when they play these very same Spartans in Langley on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m.

“The game plan going into tomorrow is no different than tonight, we just need to execute it better,” said Sinclair.