TWU basketball: Poor start costs Spartans

The Trinity Western Spartans pushed hard but were unable to overcome a poor start as they fell 76-64 to the third-ranked UBC Thunderbirds.

The two women's basketball teams squared off at UBC's War Memorial Gymnasium on Thursday (Nov. 17) night.

“To be able to beat a ranked team takes a commitment to doing the little things well for several defensive sequences in a row. I thought we got outmatched in the paint early on and didn't respond on either side of the floor until UBC had built a double digit lead. There were times where we were satisfied to trade baskets and didn't play with the grit required to climb out of the hole that we had put ourselves in the first quarter,” commented TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “There were a lot of positives despite that - we just needed to start that trend a lot sooner in the game.”

Field goal percentage and rebounding would be the difference maker for the Thunderbirds. UBC finished the night shooting 55.8 percent, 29-52, while TWU finished shooting 30.6 percent, 19-62. The home squad also had the advantage on the boards as they out-rebounded TWU 38 to 27.

The Spartans would stay in the contest by forcing the Thunderbirds into 24 turnovers, while only committing 13 and shooting 82.1 percent, 23-28, from the foul line to UBC’s 68.2 percent, 15-22.

A strong first quarter put the Thunderbirds up eight points, 25-17, heading into the second frame. The home squad extended the lead to 14 points, 41-27, with just under three and a half minutes to go in the first half.

UBC would go into the break leading by 11 points, 44-33. The Thunderbirds would extend the lead to 16 points, 53-37 with 6:47 remaining in the third quarter. As the quarter ran on the Spartans started to find their game and after a bucket by Tiffany Olsen TWU would go into the final frame trailing by 11 points, 61-50.

In the fourth quarter UBC extended the lead to 13 points, 69-56, with five minutes remaining. But the Spartans kept scrapping to get back in the game. Four straight points from guard Sarah Cleveland cut the UBC lead to eight points, 70-62, with three minutes remaining, but the Spartans could get no closer as the Thunderbirds hung on for the 12 point victory.

Tiffany Olsen led the Spartans with 16 points and four rebounds. Emily Knauff had 13 and Sarah Cleveland scored 10.

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