Pressure defence and contested shots proved to be the difference Saturday night as the Trinity Western Spartans womenâ€™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 Spartansâ€™ 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
â€œWe were disappointed in the result from last night so going into tonightâ€™s game we really focussed on playing the full 40 minutes that we needed to in order to get a win,â€ commented TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul, after the game.
â€œWithout 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 doesnâ€™t hinge on one personâ€™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.â€
Jean-Paul said TWUâ€™s younger players â€œcame up huge for us tonight.â€
â€œKristen Ford had probably the game of her career,â€ the coach added. â€œShe was doing all the little things really well and demonstrated that she is coming into her own as a third year player.â€
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
â€œIt 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,â€ Jean-Paul said. â€œWe 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.â€
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 Heatâ€™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.