LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western capped its best opening semester in program history with an 82-69 win over Brandon Saturday at the David E. Enarson Gymnasium. The Spartans finished the fall semester with a program record 8-2 regular season mark.
The win sees the Spartans enter the Christmas break with eight wins in their last nine outings. The win also saw Kayla Gordon make program history as she became the first Spartan women's basketball player to eclipse 1,000 career points. Her 22-point night put her at 1,015 points in her five years at TWU.
A close contest through three quarters went the Spartans way late, as the home side put together their best defensive quarter of the night in the final frame, outscoring Brandon 22-13, en route to a 13-point win.
The Spartans offensive depth came to life Saturday night, with five different players earning double-digits in points. Along with Gordon, TWU's Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) had 15 points, while Ashleigh Brown (Oceanside, Calif.) had 12 points and seven boards, Jessie Brown (Langley) had 12 points and five rebounds and Sarah Buckingham (Surrey, B.C.) put up 11 points and grabbed six off the glass.
Hailey Maas led the Bobcats (2-8) with 20 points, while Laruen Anderson had 12 points and Gabrielle Jubinville added 10 points each.
Similar to Friday night's contest, the Bobcats got out to a quick start, shooting 56.3 per cent in the opening quarter to nab a 23-20 lead through 10 minutes.
The Spartans, who shot 47.1 per cent from the field in the first quarter, was held to just 40 per cent in the second quarter, but a late jumper from Buckingham evened the contest 41-41 at the break. The hot-shooting Bobcats cooled slightly in the second quarter, shooting 46.7 per cent.
In the second half, the home side started to take over. TWU outscored the Bobcats by four points in the third quarter, 19-15, but it was a hot start in the fourth quarter that turned the tides the Spartans way. A quick 5-0 run midway through the final frame put TWU ahead 71-63. Then, with just over three minutes to play, the Spartans launched a 9-0 run that buried the Bobcats.
TWU finished the night with 16 assists, while Brandon had just five. The Spartans also had a 45-37 edge on the glass.
Head Coach Cheryl Jean-Paul
"Today was a 40-minute battle. But we stuck to our game plan, pushed the tempo, moved the ball and forced them to play at our pace for the entire game. We had some runs in the third and fourth quarters that definitely helped us out, but Brandon came to battle. Credit to the Bobcats for putting up a great fight, but I think we just had a little bit more left in the tank and hit a few more shots.
"We created a lot for each other. I think it came down to the fact that we were able to hit double digits in assists and offensive rebounds (17) and we were able to have five people in double-digit scoring."
On a Program Record 8-2 Fall Semester
"We owe so much to the people who came before us, but we also owe so much to the strength and conditioning coaches and our athletic therapy team. For us to be healthy throughout the semester has been huge for us. They've become very comfortable playing with each other because they've been able to do it for 10 league games. That can change in an instant, so we don't take anything for granted.
"Everybody worked hard in the off-season and everyone came back better. And with our young players pushing hard, we've been able to take some significant strides."
• Ratzlaff finishes the fall semester tied for fourth in Canada West with 17.8 points per game.
• Nearly averaging a double-double, Gordon capped the semester with 12.7 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per game (fifth in Canada West).
• TWU finished the semester second in Canada West with 44.5 rebounds per game and 15.7 assists per game.
• They finished fifth in Canada West with 71.6 points per game and sixth in points allowed, with 64.3.
• Going back to last year's post-season, the Spartans have won four straight games against Brandon since losing Game 1 of their Canada West Play-In Series.
• The weekend series with the Bobcats was 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 4-1 at the Enarson since moving to the Langley Events Centre for the 2009-10 season.
The Spartans will play Thompson Rivers twice in exhibition action Dec. 29-30 in Kamloops, B.C. before opening the winter semester against Fraser Valley Jan. 4-5. The Bobcats return to Canada West action Jan. 5-6 with a home-and-home series against Winnipeg.