A series of big plays at crunch time lifted the Trinity Western Spartans to a 57-51 win over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in Canada West women’s basketball action Friday.
For a span of nearly four minutes in the fourth quarter, just a single point separated the two local rivals.
But TWU’s Sarah Buckingham hit a huge corner triple with 1:43 left in regulation to give the Spartans a four-point cushion, and they fended off the hosts to claim victory at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.
Spartans record improves to 11-8 and keeps their hopes of hosting the opening round of the playoffs alive.
Cascades dropped to 10-9. Both teams wrap up the home-and-home set on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.
Fifth-year Spartan Tessa Ratzlaff, who was playing her final regular season game in her hometown, paced the Spartans with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Kianna Wiens (Regina) had 11 points and Buckingham had 10.
Taylor Claggett finished with a team-best 17 points for the Cascades. Kate Head scored eight, and Amanda Thompson pulled down nine rebounds.
“Tonight’s game was a great battle and a needed team response to some of the adversity we’ve faced this semester,” said TWu head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul.
“We’ve had some heartbreakers this semester, and I think we’re starting to learn from our experience instead of repeating the same patterns. We tried to make sure our core group was a little bit fresher going into that fourth quarter, and we were able to get some key subs in to make sure they were ready to make good decisions. I thought that we did a much better job of managing our roster … that equates to better shot selection, better finishes, better defensive rotations and better rebounds.”
READ MORE: TWU trio taking Spartans to new heights
Ratzlaff is now 28th in Canada West in all-time regular season scoring with 1,363 points.
Including the playoffs, Ratzlaff has a TWU all-time record 1,421 career points, while Jessie Brown has 1,338 career points.
Brown enters the final regular season game of her career with 266 made three-pointers, which has her second all-time in Canada West history. The Spartans have now won four straight regular season games against the Cascades.