The Trinity Western University Spartans were unable to get a sweep in Southern Alberta as they fell 78-56 to the University of Calgary Dinos in Canada West women's basketball action Saturday night at the Jack Simpson Gym in Calgary.
The loss drops the Spartan to 3-11, while the win improves the Dinos to 12-2.
The previous day, the Spartans used a strong third quarter and a hot shooting night to defeat the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns 76-63 at the First Choice Savings Centre in Lethbridge.
"We battled against a real tough Calgary team tonight and unfortunately couldn't replicate some of the positives we saw last night against Lethbridge," TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul said, following the loss to the Dinos. "To get a split on this swing trip is a tough task so I am really proud of how hard we worked to accomplish that. Every weekend provides us with one more lesson to learn to become a good program and tonight we learned that there is a way to play when you're tired."
Chelsey Olsen, with a career high 22 points and four rebounds and Holly Strom with 19 points, eight rebounds and five steals led the Spartans, while the hometown Dinos were led by Alex Cole with 19 points, Jessica Franz with 16 points and 16 rebounds and Kristie Sheils with 14 points.
"I thought Chelsey and Holly created some great looks for themselves in transition and in our half court set, I thought Kris provided us with some great hustle plays to keep us in the game in the first half, and we did a great job on the boards which has been an area of focus in the past few weeks," Jean-Paul said. "We have some areas of concern to work on this week and we want to continue getting better individually and as a team as we approach every competition, but we are moving forward despite the record."
Shooting percentages proved to be the difference in the contest. The Spartans had their struggles as they finished at 32.3 percent (20-62) from the field, 14.3 percent (2-14) from the three-point line and 58.3 percent (14-24) from the foul line, while the Dinos finished at 50.9 percent (29-57), 35.7 percent (5-14) and 75 percent (15-20) respectively.
In the other statistical areas the teams were nearly even. The Dinos had the slight edge in rebounds, 38 to 36 and turnovers 24 to 25, while the Spartans had the edge in steals at 15 to 14.
In the second quarter the Dinos went on a 9-3 run which allowed them to take a seven point, 32-25 lead into the half time break.
The second half showed a strong Dinos squad taking advantage of a fatiguing Spartans side. Calgary extended their lead to 53-41 at the end of the third quarter, but ran away from TWU in the fourth 25-15 to make the final a 22-point win.
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During last Friday's win over Lethbridge, forward Holly Strom with 18 points, and 11 rebounds, five steals, three assists and two blocks, forward Emily Knauff with 16 points and six rebounds and guard Sarah Cleveland with 15 points and four steals led the Spartans.
"We played a strong team game tonight with everyone contributing to positive defensive plays and smart offensive looks. I was really proud of the focus the team showed in two major areas: the first being coming back from two nearly double digit deficits in the first half, and the second being maintaining our lead and winning the game with confidence rather than just feeling as though we survived," Jean-Paul said, after the victory. "I thought the starters made a statement with their scoring looks, but we had so many little plays by everyone else right when we needed them which is why this win is a great one."
The Spartans will now return home for a double-header weekend against the Mount Royal University Cougars. Game times on Friday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Jan. 26 are set for 6 p.m. and 5 p.m.
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