A second-half surge allowed TWU to turn a one-point lead into a blowout last Friday.
The Trinity Western University women's basketball team matched its first-half offensive output in the third quarter as the Spartans pulled away in the second half to down the University of Manitoba Bisons 74-53 in a non-conference game Friday night at the Langley Events Centre.
"We are allowing ourselves to be something that we don't want to be, and at halftime we talked and asked if this is who we want to be and is this how we want to finish the game. It is almost like we reached our breaking point and said it's now or never," commented TWU head coach Cheryl Jean Paul on the change in play after the break. "I think we have been capable of playing this style for a long time and in the second half we finally showed up."
Emily Knauff with 15 points and five rebounds, Janelle Traber with 14 points, and Sarah Cleveland with 10 points, five assists, and three rebounds led the Spartans, while Stephanie Gill with 10 points and Melanie Edel with nine rebounds and seven points led the Bisons.
TWU and Manitoba both struggled to find the basket in the first half as they combined to shoot 15-61 from the field, with TWU leading 27-26 after the first 20 minutes.
But the Spartans shot 45 per cent, 9-20, in the third quarter as they outscored the Bisons 27-16 to take a 54-42 lead into the final frame. The third quarter was highlighted by a 16-4 run by the Spartans from the midway point to the final minute of the quarter.
Trinity Western continued their strong play in the final quarter to finish the half shooting 50 per cent, 17-34, to Manitoba's 37 per cent, 10-27. The Spartans would extend their lead to 26 points, 69-43, with four and a half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, as they cruised to the 21-point win.
Next up for the Spartans is their second semester Canada West home opener on Jan. 6-7 when TWU will take on the University of Lethbridge and the University of Calgary. Game times at the LEC on Friday and Saturday are at 6 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.
TWU is now 2-1 against Manitoba on the season, but the Bisons have the lone conference victory, 59-56 at TWU on Nov. 12.
TWU went 19-27, 70.4 per cent, from the foul line, while Manitoba went 19-28, 67.9 per cent.
The Spartans had the edge in rebounding 48-39.
TWU finished with 15 turnovers to Manitoba's 22.
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The Spartans gave the visiting Simon Fraser University Clan everything they could handle Thursday night.
Everything, that is, but a loss, as the Clan defeated the Spartans 56-50 in non-conference action at the Langley Events Centre.
Leading in the fourth quarter, the Spartans were just minutes away from what would have been their first win in program history over the Clan, but SFU dominated the final minutes to eke out the victory.
"We've introduced a lot of new things on defence and some offensive sets, so we knew there was going to be some uncertainty going into the game and the first quarter was a bit of a slow start," Jean-Paul said. "We are trying to convince our girls that defence does feed the offence. And that was one of the adjustments that we made in the second quarter, we had more defensive pressure and got some rebounds, which resulted in easy looks."
Even though the Spartans gave up their five-point lead in the final minutes of the game, the players showed they could play with confidence, Jean-Paul said.
She added, "We got scoring opportunities in the fourth quarter, we just didn't finish. We obviously have work to do, but there were great signs of things to come."
The Spartans, who trailed by 10 points after the first quarter, rallied to take a five point lead, 50-45, with just over four minutes remaining in the game.
However down the stretch the Clan outscored the Spartans 11-0 to take the contest.
With the win the Clan, who play in the NCAA Div. II GNAC, move to 7-3 overall, while the Spartans, who play in the CIS Canada West conference, 8-9 overall.
Laurelle Weigl, with 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals, and Janelle Traber, with 12 points, led the Spartans in a losing effort.
TWU's Stephanie Carkner opened the game with a driving "pro" lay-up to give the Spartans the early 2-0 lead, but from there TWU struggled in the shooting department, while Simon Fraser finished out the first stanza with an 18-8 lead.
The second quarter was a completely different game as the Spartans played one of their better quarters in their history against the Clan. TWU outscored SFU 13-5 to go into the half trailing by two points, 23-21.
Out of the break the two teams matched each other basket-for-basket as the Clan would hold onto their two-point lead, 39-37, as the teams entered the final frame.
With just over seven minutes remaining, a three-point play by Marie-Line Petit gave the Clan a four point lead, 45-41.
At that point, the Spartans found their stride as Laurissa Weigl helped spark a 9-0 run for TWU as the Spartans entered the final four minutes of the game with a 50-45 lead.
Down the stretch, TWU would go 0-5 from the field as SFU rallied for the six-point win.