VICTORIA – The Trinity Western women's basketball team used a strong defensive effort to earn a 71-63 victory over the Victoria Vikes Saturday night at the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria, B.C. The win sends the Spartans into the Christmas break with a 7-3 record, while the loss drops the Vikes to 6-4.
Trinity Western's fourth year guard Sarah Buckingham (Langley, B.C.) put up a career best 26 points and eight rebounds in 37 minutes played to keep the Spartans on pace. Rookie forward Nicole Fransson (Edmonton) put up 17 points in her 16 minutes played after getting in to foul trouble early in the game. Not to be deterred, the Spartans had quality points come from the bench including seven points from fourth year guard Breanna Cabuco (Port Moody, B.C.) and second year guard Kianna Wiens (Regina, Sask.) with eight points.
For the Vikes, Ashlyn Day led with 14 points and five rebounds, while Katie Langdon had 13 points and seven rebounds.
The opening half was a recipe for disaster for the home side as the Vikes shot just 21 per cent, while the Spartans were at 51. Luckily, for Victoria, Trinity Western conceded several unnecessary turnovers that prevented the deficit from being any worse. The Spartans led by as much as 17, thanks to the quality shooting of veteran Buckingham, who had 15 points and was three-for-three from distance.
Down, 36-19, Morgan Roskelley hit the team's first and only three of the half and it was timely as the Vikes had missed shots on the last three possessions. The home side shot 7-for-35 from the field in a half that saw Katie Langdon lead in scoring with seven points. Trinity Western capitalized for nine points on Vikes turnovers and out-shot the home side 18-12 and 20-10 in the first and second quarters, respectively.
Typical sharp shooters Amira Giannattasio, for Victoria, and Nicole Fransson, for Trinity Western, were forced to their bench as they each picked up two fouls in the first quarter. Buckingham continued to spearhead the Spartans to a 38-22 lead at half time.
Mid-way through the third Jolene Vlieg grabbed a nifty pass under the hoop and dropped a hook shot for the 49-29 Trinity Western lead, only to be answered by a nice jumper from Vikes guard Calli McMillan in the other end. That was a small momentum consolation for the Vikes and on the next Trinity Western possession Giannattasio stole the ball and her breakaway efforts cut the deficit to 16, down 49-33.
With Fransson back on the floor, Buckingham had her six-foot-one body to find in the paint and the Spartans continued to advance their lead, up 53-37 with two minutes to go in the third. Fifth year Tessa Needham and second year Kianna Wiens kept the ball moving at pace to create the space in between the Vikes as Buckingham ended the quarter with 24 points, while Fransson finished with 11. The Spartans sat on a 56-37 advantage heading in to the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, the Vikes made their biggest strides to cut down the lead as Ashlyn Day and Aleah Ashlee were finding the hoop, down 64-51, only to be answered by a long two from Needham in the other end. Day and Langdon combined well to cut the deficit to 11 as Day found Langdon under the hoop. Back the other way Langdon picked up a steal that resulted in Giannattasio setting up Day for a three.
The Vikes out-shot the Spartans 25-15 but it was too little, too late to make up for the opening three quarter damage.
The Spartans wrapped up with a 71-62 victory to wrap up the 2018 half of the Canada West season.
TWU Head Coach Cheryl Jean-Paul
"Tonight's game was a great response to the call to be more resilient. Every team has situations that are not ideal and I thought the team demonstrated how much depth we have and a needed level of readiness from the younger athletes that bodes well for the future of this program. Sarah played at the next level today and we look forward to seeing more of that determination not just because others were missing but because she is capable of playing that way. But I'm really proud of the team's attitude to fight for each other on both ends of play and to not let their circumstances dictate their effort. It's been an interesting semester and we are looking forward to some much deserved rest and recovery."
Victoria Head Coach Dani Sinclair
"(Trinity Western) played with more energy and they played more like a team from start to finish and deserved that win. We were hoping to get bailed out on foul calls. We weren't strong on the ball and missed a lot of easy ones. Their bench came through and ours didn't."
- Trinity Western was once again without the services of fifth year all-star forward Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.), who has missed the last four games after being injured against Mount Royal on November 10.
- Fifth year guard Jesse Brown (Langley, B.C.) finished the weekend with 12 points, which gives her a career total of 1193. She is now two points out of the top 50 in Canada West history for total points, trailing Alberta's Joanna Ross ('92) – 1195.
- Brown's lone three point basket in tonight's match moves her into sole possession of second spot of on the Canada West record list for three point baskets made with 242. She trails only Calgary's Ashley Hill's ('11) 279 for top spot.
The Spartans will look to carry the momentum of the first half into the second semester when they host the Winnipeg Wesmen on Jan. 4-5, while the Vikes will regroup in 2019 with home games against Regina on the same weekend.