ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – The Trinity Western Spartans turned in a tough defensive performance on the road Friday evening, earning a 65-50 win over Fraser Valley to sweep their weekend series and pick up their fifth win in a row.
The Spartans limited the Cascades to 27 points over the first 30 minutes of the game, and held UFV to 34.7 per cent shooting from the field to improve to 10-2. The Cascades fell to 4-10.
With the victory, TWU earned a weekend sweep of the Cascades for the first time since Nov. 28-29, 2008.
TWU has now earned wins in 10 of their last 11 outings.
The first half was closely contested, but the Spartans closed the second quarter on an 8-0 run to stake out a 30-17 lead. They scored the first four points of the third and continued to expand the margin from there, going up 19 points (44-25) on an Ashleigh Barnes (Oceanside, Calif.) jump shot late in the frame.
The Cascades found some offensive traction in the fourth, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
TWU's Jessie Brown (Langley, B.C.) counted a trio of three-pointers among her game-high 18 points, Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) scored 11 points, and Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) hauled down 11 boards.
Simovic paced the Cascades with 17 points, and Taylor Claggett and Shayna Litman both notched eight points and seven rebounds.
TWU Head Coach Cheryl Jean-Paul
"UFV is a team that forces you to have to play well defensively. They've got a lot of weapons – (Sara) Simovic is so good off the dribble, and their bigs can have a big impact on the game.
"It was really about making sure we were prepared to make a statement. If you think about what happens going into playoffs, if you're shots aren't dropping, you have to rely on defence. That's not something our program has necessarily been known for, and it's something we've been working really hard towards. Ultimately, that's what gets you games."
UFV Head Coach Al Tuchscherer
"It's a shame that we came out with an effort like we did tonight. Trinity's a good veteran squad, and they taught us some lessons this weekend."
• In their last sweep of UFV, in 2008, the Spartans beat the Cascades 70-54 and 70-56 on home court.
• Last year, TWU and UFV split their home-and-home series, with both teams winning on home court. The Cascades won 60-47 in Abbotsford, B.C. before the Spartans responded with a 65-51 victory back in Langley.
TWU will now return home to play Calgary Jan. 12-13 at the Langley Events Centre.