Langley-based Spartans start off 2016 with win in California

The visiting TWU women pulled away from the Biola Eagles in the final five minutes.

The Trinity Western University Spartans will head into conference play on a winning note after a solid 73-66 win over the Biola Eagles in exhibition women’s basketball action Friday night in La Mirada, Calf.

The Spartans are now on a two-gamewinning streak, while this is Biola’s fourth loss in a row.

“Today was a great team effort resulting in a solid win to finish off our California trip. We set some goals before the game to take care of the ball better than against Vanguard, to get to the free throw line consistently and to limit their second chance points off rebounds and were able to meet two of the three. Those will be such important factors for us going into second semester along with generating more offense from deeper into our roster, from the free throw line and from defensive pressure,” commented TWU Head Coach Cheryl Jean-Paul, following the victory. “Everyone has done a great job of working on areas of improvement and now we head into the season a little more prepared, a little sharper and hungry for continued progress.”

The Spartans led the game for just about 90 percent of the 40 minutes, but the Eagles were within arm’s reach for much of the afternoon. Biola had the game tied with just five minutes to play before TWU caught fire to end the game on top.

“Trinity Western was a good test. They are an athletic team and shot the ball very well,” said Head Coach Alan Nakamura. “We will stick together and gain extra motivation from this game. We have a high character team and they handle adversity very well. We are excited to have a game tomorrow.”

The Spartans score 14 points in the final five minutes as they missed just two shots from the field in that stretch. The visiting team shot with good efficiency throughout the afternoon to finish with a 44 percent clip.

Kayla Gordon led the charge for TWU by going 8-for-11 from the floor in a stunning 26-point performance. She was also 10-of-12 from the free throw line to make-up for the fact that the rest of her team struggled in that category.

The Spartans went 10 for 24, 41.7 percent, from the three-point line.

Jessie Brown made six three-pointers to finish with 18 points, while Natalie Carkner finished with four three-pointers on her way to 16 points. Kristen Ford had a strong game off the bench for TWU finishing with 10 points and four rebounds.

It was a fast paced game from start to finish, as both teams took little to no time on each of their possessions as they ran up and down the court. The 35 combined turnovers added to this quick pace of play as defenders were able to get their hands on the ball with ease throughout the night. DeMoria White led all players with five steals.

Sara Dougan played a huge role in keeping the game close as she was dominant on the glass, especially in the defensive end. She finished the game with 15 rebounds to lead all players. The next closest had six. The freshman forward also had 14 points to get her second double-double of the season.

Danielle Kennedy had a strong game in her return from injury. She also had 14 points and went 4-for-9 from beyond the arc. A lot of her scoring came in the first three quarters as she got into foul trouble down the stretch.

White led the Eagles with 16 points. She was just four-for-eight from the free throw line as the Eagles also had their struggles from the stripe. The team shot just 11-for-22 on free throw opportunities, which made a huge difference in what ended as a seven-point game.

TWU opens up Canada West conference action on Jan. 9-10 when they travel to Saskatchewan to take on the University of Regina Cougars.

Game Notes: Biola had the edge in rebounding 37-33. The Spartans finished with 16 turnovers, while the Eagles finished with 19.

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