LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western had four players hit double-digits in points, with Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) leading the way with a game-high 23 points, to spark the Spartans to an 81-54 win over Brandon Friday at the David E. Enarson Gymnasium.
After TWU got off to a slow start in the first quarter – Brandon held a 16-15 lead through 10 minutes – the Spartans exploded in the second quarter and beyond, outscoring the Bobcats 66-38 over the final three quarters.
Grabbing a 60-46 lead after the third quarter, the Spartans (7-2) rolled to the finish line, putting up another 21 points to the Bobcats (2-7) eight in the fourth quarter, en route to the 27-point win.
Beyond Ratzlaff's offensive effort, it was the trio of Jessie Brown (Langley) with 17 points, Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) with 15 points and Ashleigh Barnes (Oceanside, Calif.) with 12 points, leading the charge for the home side.
Gordon also had a game-high nine rebounds, while Ratzlaff added seven.
Keegan Robinson had 16 points to lead the Bobcats, who were playing without leading scorer Keisha Cox for the second straight game.
The Spartans are now 7-1 in their last eight outings.
The first quarter saw Brandon get off to a quick start, opening a 7-2 lead before the Spartans began to find a bit of a rhythm late in the frame, closing the gap to one point.
The Spartans seized momentum in the second quarter, outscoring the Bobcats 21-10 to build a 10-point lead, 36-26, at the break.
Brown and Barnes had eight points apiece to lead the Spartans at halftime. Robinson had a team-high seven points for the Bobcats.
Taking control of the contest, the Spartans pushed their lead to 14 points by the end of the third quarter. With a steal and a lay-up late in the frame, Ratzlaff pushed the Spartans to 60 points through 30 minutes.
In the fourth quarter, Brown put up nine points, bettering the Bobcats entire team effort of eight points as TWU buried Brandon with a convincing final 10 minutes.
The Spartans shot 49.2 per cent from the field over the course of the contest, while holding Brandon to 33.9 per cent. TWU also had a 44-33 edge on the glass.
Head Coach Cheryl Jean-Paul
"This game is very similar to other games this semester where a few shots here and there and a few fouls here and there and it could be a very different second half. I thought we were able to take advantage of how our style of play works for us. We struggled to get the ball up the floor early in the game and they kept us from running, but we kept pushing until it broke open.
"We made a few adjustments in the second half and I think after that, we were able to get up and down the floor, which is how we play our best. I think Brandon's record doesn't dictate how tough they really are, so we going to have to be ready to battle again tomorrow."
• The weekend series with the Bobcats marks a rematch of last year's Canada West Play-In Series, which the Spartans won in a decisive Game 3 to capture their first ever playoff series victory.
• The Spartans are now 3-1 at the Enarson since moving to the Langley Events Centre for the 2009-10 season. TWU played at the Enarson last year, beating Lethbridge on both nights Their only loss back on campus was against Saskatchewan (71-53 on Nov. 27, 2015).
• The Spartans were coming off a 75-71 overtime win over UBC, which was their first victory over the Thunderbirds in nine years.
TWU and Brandon play the rematch Saturday at 5 p.m. (PT) at the David E. Enarson Gymnasium.