Late Spartans surge cools Heat

Pressure defence and contested shots proved to be the difference Saturday night as the Trinity Western Spartans women’s basketball team earned a weekend split with the UBC Okanagan Heat via a solid 59-50 win in Kelowna.

The Spartans held the Heat to 27 percent shooting, 17-63, from the field and 9.1 percent, 1-11, from the three point line, while TWU was shooting an effective 41.5 percent, 22-53, from the field and 40 percent, 2-5, from the three point line.

The Heat are now 3-11 for the season, and still in search for a back-to-back wins on the 2013-14 campaign, while the Spartans improve to 3-11 on the year and 2-2 in January.

Fifth-year forward Holly Strom, the Spartans’ leading scorer, did not play but her void was more than filled with the performance of fifth-year guard Janelle Traber, who scored a game-high 18 points while also recording eight rebounds and three assists.

Rookie forward Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) chipped in with a Canada West personal career high of 12 points and six rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

Forward Kristen Ford had a solid 20 minutes finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals

“We were disappointed in the result from last night so going into tonight’s game we really focussed on playing the full 40 minutes that we needed to in order to get a win,” commented TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul, after the game.

“Without Holly, there was an opportunity for other players to step up and show that we can have success as a team and that our success doesn’t hinge on one person’s performance. We trusted each other with taking good shoot and the right shots dropped and the right time for us. We are very excited about this win, especially with playing without Holly.”

Jean-Paul said TWU’s younger players “came up huge for us tonight.”

“Kristen Ford had probably the game of her career,” the coach added. “She was doing all the little things really well and demonstrated that she is coming into her own as a third year player.”

UBC Okanagan sophomore Kayla McFadden had a solid night, scoring 10 points and grabbing a team-high six rebounds.

Ahead of her was third-year guard Emily Kanester with a team-high 15 points on 6-9 shooting, the only Heat player seemingly able to find her touch consistently across the night.

The Spartans started well and led 13-8 at end of the first quarter and 25-24 at the half-time break.

In the third quarter UBC-O took a brief 33-31 lead before TWU regained control with a 9-0 run to take a 40-35 advantage into the final 10 minutes.

The Spartans extended their lead to 10 points, 53-43, with just under three minutes to play after a Natalie Carkner three-point basket.

The Heat scrambled to within three points, 53-50, after a late charge, but the Spartans would make their foul shots down the stretch to earn the nine-point win.

The Spartans will now head home to host the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack. Game times at the Langley Events Centre are set for 6 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 24) and 5 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 25).

Heat opens with win

Playing their third straight road game of the second semester, the Spartans dropped a tough 67-62 back-and-forth battle to the Heat Friday in Kelowna

“It is about finishing the games better and really executing well down the stretch. A few minutes to go in the game with a one or two point lead, we got the stops that we needed but we did not get the shots that we needed,” Jean-Paul said. “We are going to make the adjustments we need and are confident that we can come out of this gym with a win we just have to execute on offence and clean up some of the things we did not do well on defence.”

Strom went for a game-high 16 points alongside eight rebounds, while Traber with 13 points and four rebounds and Carkner with nine points and five rebounds also contributed to the TWU cause.

The Heat’s third year guard Emily Kanester with 15 points and second-year post Kayla McFadden led UBC-O with 14 points and nine rebounds led UBC-O.

The game was tight throughout the evening. The two teams were tied 15-15 at the end of the first quarter with the Heat holding a 32-31 lead at the half.

The Heat took control of the game at the start of the second half and after just under two minutes had extended their lead to double-digits, 41-31. However, TWU responded with their own run to head into the final frame leading 50-48.

The Spartans kept the momentum going to start the fourth quarter and took a 54-51 lead after a Laurissa Weigl jumper at 8:18. It was a lead which TWU would maintain until the Spartans were ahead 60-57 with just over three minutes to go before the final buzzer.

The tide would turn in UBC-O favour over the next two minutes as a 6-0 run gave the Heat a 63-60 lead with under a minute remaining.

TWU cut the lead to one point, 63-62 after a Strom lay-up with 14 seconds remaining.

UBC-O made its free throws, going 4-4 from the charity stripe down the stretch to take the game by five, 67-62.

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