LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western's women's basketball made program history, as the Spartans extended their winning streak to a best-ever five games with a 70-63 win over Victoria Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
With a dominant third quarter, the Spartans (5-1) opened up a 23-point lead, 60-37, before holding off the Vikes (4-2) in the final frame.
The Spartans had previously earned four-game winning streaks on five different occasions.
Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) led TWU with a team-high 18 points, while grabbing eight boards. Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) put together a double-double, putting up 12 points and nabbing 10 rebounds. Jessie Brown (Langley) added 16 points, including four 3-pointers.
Kristy Gallagher had a game-high 21 points for the Vikes, while Marissa Dheensaw had a game-high 12 rebounds. Ashlyn Day added 11 points, while Amira Giannattasio had 10 points.
The Spartans jumped out a 14-3 lead in the first quarter and finished the opening frame with a 20-9 advantage, while shooting 50 per cent (9-18) from the field. The Vikes struggled from the field, shooting just 17.6 per cent (3-17).
In the second quarter, the Vikes found their shooting rhythm, going seven for 14 from the field, while also earning three steals to hang with TWU. The Spartans hot shooting cooled a bit as they were six for 16 in the frame, but held on for 37-28 lead at the break.
Brown led TWU with 13 first-half points, while Giannattasio had a team-leading eight points for the Vikes.
After both teams struggled to generate offence through the first five minutes of the third quarter, the Spartans exploded for 17 points over the final 4:11 of the frame to open a 60-39 lead through 30 minutes. Holding the Vikes to just 11 points in the quarter, TWU went up by as many as 23 points after a 3-pointer from Brown late in the frame.
However, the Vikes responded with a run of their own, building on a Gallagher lay-up late in the third quarter before starting the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run. With TWU making just one field goal in the fourth quarter on eight shots, Victoria closed the gap to as few as six points. But the Spartans managed to hang on, holding the Vikes without a meaningful point for the final 2:22. An inconsequential lay-up from Giannattasio with eight seconds left made it a seven-point final
Head Coach Cheryl Jean-Paul
"I thought we showed a lot better today in terms of playing as a team and moving without the basketball. We scrambled less today. I thought we handled their press better and still maintained our effectiveness on the rebounds. We still had stretches where we settled for shots, but I thought our style of play in the third quarter is what won the game for us. For us to be able to break out at that speed at that time of the game when it had been a battle for the first six quarters, was key for us. Obviously Victoria is not the type of team that gives up late in games and we almost learned that the hard way. But I think we were able to recover just enough to sustain the win. It's really exciting for us to be able to celebrate five wins in a row and for this group to be able to do that is cool."
• Last year, TWU built a four-game streak late in the year, only to have the Vikes snap it with an 87-82 win in Victoria.
• TWU had four-game winning streaks in 2001-02, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2015-16 and 2016-17.
• The Spartans are now tied for second in the Canada West standings.
• Gordon is averaging a double-double through TWU's first six games, with 10.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
TWU will play at UBC Nov. 17-18, while Victoria returns home to host Saskatchewan next weekend.