REGINA – The Trinity Western Spartans scored the final 10 points of the game on Saturday night, pulling away from the No. 6-ranked Regina Cougars for a 56-47 victory at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.
The Cougars went up by one thanks to an Angela Bongomin free throw with just over three minutes to go, but that turned out to be the U of R's final point of the game. Trinity Western took the lead for good soon after on a Sarah Buckingham (Surrey, B.C.) bucket, and the Spartans followed that up with field goals on their next three possessions to take a stranglehold on the contest.
Trinity Western is now off to a 4-0 start, which marks the first time TWU has ever started a season with four straight wins. Prior to this year, the Spartans had never opened a Canada West campaign with more than two wins in a row. The win also completes an historic first-ever weekend sweep of the Cougars.
The Spartans were led offensively in Saturday's win by Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.), who scored 17 points and also grabbed eight rebounds.
Buckingham finished with a double-double for TWU, scoring 14 points and collecting 11 rebounds while leading all players with 38 minutes played. First-year Nicole Fransson (Edmonton) scored eight points, four of which came on back-to-back buckets during Trinity Western's pivotal run late in the fourth.
Macaela Crone (pictured) had her finest outing as a Cougar, finishing with a game-high 19 points and pulling down eight rebounds. Carolina Goncalves and Michaela Kleisinger both had eight points, while Christina McCusker had four points, tied Crone for the team lead with eight rebounds, and led all players with five blocks.
The Cougars drop to 2-2 on the season after suffering home losses on consecutive nights for just the fourth time since the program joined Canada West prior to the 2001-02 season. They'll try to regroup on the road next weekend against a Brandon team that is coming off a road sweep over UBC Okanagan this weekend
"Tonight was a drawn out battle. We played very similar last weekend in the second game where we didn't really find our tempo until the second half. It was nice to see the team fight through the adversity of our own mindset to rediscover our style of play. Going away from that doesn't get us the looks or the energy required to beat a team like Regina. We had a much better rebounding effort and stuck together, which are both great signs of our ability to recover from a slow start while still playing defense until the shots start dropping. It was a great way to end a tough weekend and we look forward to getting some rest and then getting after it again this week."
• Prior to this weekend, TWU had only two wins over Regina in the Spartans program history.
• The Spartans opened the season with a pair of wins over UBC Okanagan.
• The two wins for Trinity Western this weekend were the first ever for the Spartans in Regina, as they'd lost all 15 games played at the U of R coming into Friday's affair.
• The Cougars played without guard Kyanna Giles, who was injured early in Friday's game.
The Spartans return home to host Mount Royal Nov. 9-10 at the Langley Events Centre.
Recognized for quality, TWU has received seven consecutive A+ rankings for Quality of Teaching and Learning, holds three Canada Research Chairs, and wins national championships in CIS sports. More importantly, lives are changed at TWU through its whole-person, Christ-centred approach to education. With a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree-completion programs, TWU equips leaders of character and competence to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.