Spartans womens basketball team comes from behind

The team recovered from a weak first quarter to beat Edmonton.

The No. 10 ranked Trinity Western Spartans started slow, but used a strong middle 20 minutes to defeat the MacEwan Griffins 66-55 Friday night in Edmonton.

Tessa Ratzlaff led TWU with 18 points, six boards, four assists, a steal and a block, while Jessie Brown of Langley bucketed 16 and Kianna Wiens chipped in nine points in 23 minutes off the bench.

Griffin fourth-year guard Kayla Ivicak broke the MacEwan school record for most double-doubles in a Canada West season with her ninth of the campaign as the Griffins threw a scare into the third place Spartans.

Up as much as 12 points in the first quarter, the Griffins, who will miss the playoffs this season, had the Trinity Western Spartans on their heels early.

But TWU broke down an aggressive MacEwan defence, found their shooting touch and ground out a 66-55 victory that keeps them alive for one of the first-round playoff byes that go to the conference’s top-four teams.

“MacEwan has been a very good defensive team all season long,” said Spartans head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul after her squad improved to 15-4 on the season. “They’ve shown this is a very difficult gym to come and score in. We were not sure what to do about it initially.

“We’ve been a high-tempo team all season long,” she continued. “We have to move the ball, we have to move ourselves. I thought we were quite lethargic in the first quarter. I think it was just reminding them that this is not who we’ve been all season long, why start now?

“I think we responded to that. After that, we went back to what we do well.”

And that’s certainly shoot the three-pointer. Led by Jessie Brown’s 4-for-7 effort from behind the arc, TWU drained eight treys to MacEwan’s one – ultimately the difference in the game.

“We know the people who are supposed to take that shot,” said Jean-Paul. “We try to work hard to create really good looks for them. It comes down to being able to knock it down.

“Obviously, it’s a part of what we do. Transition is part of what we do. Our post play is part of what we do. We need all those parts to be functioning properly for us to do well.”

Ivicak led the Griffins with 20 points and 11 rebounds for her ninth double-double in 19 games this season, breaking the school record of eight set by Kelly Fagan in 2014-15.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” said the St. Albert product. “To beat a record is awesome.”

Graduating Griffins’ seniors Paige Knull and Kerilynn MacLennan, playing in the second-last game of their university careers, added 15 and 10 points, respectively for MacEwan, which falls to 4-15 after the loss.

If only the Griffins could bottle the first quarter when they began with a 10-0 run and didn’t allow the Spartans a field goal until there was 1:08 left in it.

“We found ways to score,” said Adams. “We got Kayla and Paige going pretty early, which always helps. I thought we found them some pretty good looks near the rim, which was good. It helped us generate some easy scores early, but defensively we just lacked intensity.

“They’re a very good shooting team,” she added. “We gave up quarters of 25 and 23 where they scored 15 points from the three-point line. That’s us not adjusting quick enough to what’s working for them and forcing them to do something different.”

The Spartans got the three-ball rolling and built as much as an 18-point lead on the backs of a late third-quarter 10-0 run that really put the game out of reach. “For us, it’s about being able to get a first-round bye,” said Jean-Paul. “That’s what we’re fighting for and to get as high a seed as possible when it comes to hosting at some point in time.

“There’s so much that has been in our control – we had a very good semester and we were able to get the right wins at the right time. We didn’t want to let down our momentum that we’ve been building all season long.”

The teams will meet again on Saturday night, which will be MacEwan’s Senior Night celebration.

Just Posted

Langley Mounties celebrate civilian volunteers

RCMP officers applauded the volunteers who make their jobs easier.

Surrey Knights hockey team owners seek $250,000 for alleged discrimination

Claims have not been proven before BC Human Rights Tribunal

Stage 1 watering restrictions to kick in two weeks early

As of May 1, Metro Vancouver residents can only water lawns two days a week instead of three

Actor hits playhouse tonight, in honour of her sister

Langley’s Elyse Ritchie may be an administrator by day, but by night she loves being on stage.

Langley students awarded for historic knowledge

Several students were singled out for awards at a recent Heritage Fair.

Could facial scans and fingerprints make you unhackable?

New biometrics capabilities could be a game-changer for those trying to get on your accounts

Unions set for national strike against CP Rail

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Cops corral pig on the loose

Police “put the grab” on pig before it can cross the highway on Vancouver Island

Accused in B.C. school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

Decision will put hold on upcoming trial for Gabriel Klein

Producer, DJ Avicii found dead at 28

Swedish-born artist Tim Bergling, was found in Muscat, Oman

Updated: Cars lined up around the block as gas hits 109.9 in B.C. city

The gas wars continue in Vernon, B.C. with prices as low as $109.9 in North Okanagan

Trudeau ends 3-country tour with global reputation, alliances intact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds footing on the world stage after China and India controversies

Most Read