LANGLEY, BC – The Trinity Western University women's basketball team had a hard-fought 70-48 loss against the No.1 CIS ranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies Thursday night at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C.
The win moves the Huskies to 7-0, while the loss drops the Spartans to 3-4 in Canada West play.
While the game remained evenly contested until late into the third quarter, the score did not dictate the challenge and competitiveness that the Spartans brought to the game.
"There are a lot of different things going through our mind with...going against the strongest team in the country, you have to pick and choose your battles. They have so many things that they do well, we had to make sure we keyed on their biggest strengths but also on the things we do well up until this point" commented TWU's head coach, Cheryl Jean-Paul. "I think when go up against a big team you have to fight for your identity in terms of where your scoring looks are and your defensive focus. I thought for two of the four quarters we made that statement. Then our challenge becomes it takes more than two out of four quarters to play against a really good team".
TWU's Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) led the Spartans with 14 points and six rebounds. Second year guard Jessie Brown (Langley, B.C.) continued her double-digit scoring streak with 14 points. While fourth year guard Natalie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) had another strong game for the Spartans finishing with 12 points, a team leading seven rebounds, and zero turnovers.
Huskies fifth year Laura Dally, finished with a game high of 22 points and six rebounds. Dalyce Emmerson added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, Kelsey Trulsrud had 11 points and six rebounds, while Sabina Dukate finished with 13 points that helped in their efforts.
The Spartans had one of the best starts of the year as they took a four point lead, 20-16, into the second quarter. TWU outplayed Saskatchewan and finished the first 10 minutes shooting 50 percent from the field to the Huskies 37 percent.
The Huskies had a better second quarter and 24-8 advantage put Saskatchewan up 40-28 at the half. Saskatchewan connected on numerous three-point shots, 3-for-5, in the quarter, and Huskies left the half with a 12-point lead having boosted their field goal percentage to 48 percent, while TWU's dropped to 37.5 percent.
"Some of the challenges are that you don't get the same opportunities multiple times against the same teams. I thought we had the exact same type of scoring looks in the second quarter, we just didn't finish them" added Jean-Paul.
The second half started with the Spartans scoring the first seven points to cut the Huskies lead to five points, 40-35 after the first five minutes of the half. The Huskies responded and the quarter ended with TWU outscoring Saskatchewan 13-12 to cut the deficit to 11 points, 52-41, after 30 minutes of play.
The Huskies powered past the Spartans in the final quarter to finish the contest with a 22 point, 70-48, win.
"It's exciting for us to match them toe-to-toe for certain stretches of the game, understanding that we still have a lot of growth to do, and we just need to make sure we keep working hard towards that," added Jean-Paul. "When we talk about not playing the score, and more about who we want to become as a program. I think the challenge is hard when we try to avoid looking up at the scoreboard and it's not about miracles, and it's about one stop at a time and getting a really good look. The games that we have let slip away, it happened one sequence at a time. It's about taking a step back."
Both teams face off once more, tomorrow night at 6PM at the David E. Enarson gym on TWU's campus.