PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia – In a battle of unbeaten teams it was the hometown UNBC Timberwolves who came out on top with a 78-77 comeback win over the Trinity Western Spartans, Friday night at the Charles Jago Northern Sports Centre in Prince George, B.C.
The loss drops the Spartans to 6-1 on the season, while the win keeps the Timberwolves, who were just outside the U SPORTS top ten (11th), at 5-0.
Fourth year guard Sarah Buckingham (Langley, B.C.) with 23 points and six assists and rookie forward Nicole Franson (Edmonton) with 21 points and nine rebounds led the Spartans in the loss. UNBC's Madison Landry had a stellar night going 11-11 from the field to lead the Timberwolves with 25 points and six assists, with teammate Vasiliki Louka adding 14 points, 18 rebounds and five assists.
The Timberwolves rallied from an eight point deficit, 63-55, heading into the final quarter to defeat the Spartans.
UNBC began the final 10 minutes with a 11-2 run to take a 66-65 lead with 7:30 remaining in the game. From there it was a back-and-forth game. The Spartans responded with a 5-0 run to regain a four point, 70-66 lead with 4:30 remaining. The Timberwolves would tie the game 73-73 with 3:12 remaining. After a free throw by Buckingham gave TWU a 74-73 lead UNBC responded with a three pointer by Abby Gibb and a lay-up from Alina Shakirova to give the Timberwolves a 78-74 lead with 1:06 to go. The Spartans got a defensive stop and Buckingham followed with a three pointer to make the score 78-77. With eight seconds remaining TWU forced a turnover and got the ball back. After a time out TWU fifth year guard Jessie Brown (Langley, B.C.) had her contested three point attempt rim out as TWU dropped the contest 78-77.
The Spartans were impressive to start the game as they took a 23-15 lead after the opening 10 minutes of play.
The Timberwolves were able to cut in the lead in the second quarter, outscore the Spartans 19-17, as TWU took a 40-34 lead into the half-time break.
In a high scoring third quarter, 23-21, TWU was able to extend their lead to eight point to start the final frame.
TWU Head Coach Cheryl Jean-Paul
"Tough one today, we followed the game plan as best as we could but in the end a few defensive lapses cost us the lead. I thought the team did a great job of fighting together, found ways to support each other offensively and hit some of the shots we needed. Although we are disappointed with the loss and some missed opportunities, I couldn't have asked more from this group."
- Trinity Western played tonight without Canada West all-star and TWU's leading scorer and rebounder fifth year forward Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.), who is day-to-day with an injury. Ratzlaff currently sits ninth in points per game with 17.5, seventh in blocks per game with 1.2, and 19th in rebounds per game with 7.8.
- TWU finished the game shooting 40.9 percent (27-66) from the field, 9-23 from the three-point line and 14-19 from the foul line, while UNBC shot 54.8 percent (34-62) from the field, 6-17 from the three-point line and 4-8 from the foul line.
- UNBC had a 35-28 edge in rebounding. The Timberwolves had 14 turnovers, while the Spartans had only nine turnovers.
- Buckingham's 23 points was a career best, while Fransson's 21 points was two points off of her career best. Buckingham finished 8-14 from the floor.
- With her three three-point baskets Brown now has 240 career three-point baskets, which moves her ahead of Regina's Katie Polischuk (2012-17) 239, for third place in Canada West history. Her next three-point basket will tie her for second with Winnipeg's Megan Noonan (2012-17). Calgary's Ashley Hill (2006-11) holds the CW record with 279.
- UNBC's Louka's 14 points gives her 1257 in her career, which ties her with Calgary's Tamara Jarrett ('14) for 38th spot on the CW all-time scoring list. Louka's next rebound will move her into a tie for 10th in Canada West history for total rebounds with Lethbridge's Kimberley Veldman ('15) who has 805.
two teams will face each other again Saturday with a 6 p.m. The game can be seen live on Canadawest.TV.