Sports

TWU basketball: Spartans rally past Cascades

Trinity Western’s Tiffany Olsen (right) clamps down on Fraser Valley’s Nicole Wierks during Canada West women’s basketball at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre on Saturday.The  visiting Spartans won for the fourth time in their past five games to pull within two games of second place Fraser Valley. - John Morrow/Black Press
Trinity Western’s Tiffany Olsen (right) clamps down on Fraser Valley’s Nicole Wierks during Canada West women’s basketball at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre on Saturday.The visiting Spartans won for the fourth time in their past five games to pull within two games of second place Fraser Valley.
— image credit: John Morrow/Black Press

Second place is within striking distance thanks to a big come-from-behind victory for the Trinity Western Spartans.

The women’s basketball team defeated the 10th-ranked Fraser Valley Cascades 71-59 on Saturday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

“UFV is a great team and they have been getting big wins against great teams so this win is huge for us,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul.

“Our focus on defence is our strength and we were prepared to play today.

“I’ve been hoping for this game for a long time as a head coach.

“This game showed teams that they have to stop how we play rather than just individual athletes.”

The win puts the Spartans at 8-7 in the Canada West Pacific Division standings, while the Cascades fell to 10-5.

Trinity Western has also won four of their past five games, with the lone loss being a 13-point defeat to the country’s top team, the unbeaten Regina Cougars. And in that game, the Spartans led by two at the half.

Against Fraser Valley, the Spartans struggled in the first half, shooting just 31.6 per cent while the Cascades hit 50 per cent of their shots. Despite that, Trinity Western only trailed by two points.

And in the second half, the visitors took over, building a lead they would not relinquish.

“It has been a work in progress and if you look at the fourth quarters, we have  been in we have worked hard to defend in the fourth quarter,” Jean-Paul said.

“We have slowly, but surely, gotten better. We just needed a breakthrough game and tonight was that game.”

The second half shooting stats were a complete reversal of the first 20 minutes, as this time Trinity Western was good on 55.6 per cent and the Cascades struggled at 27.6 per cent.

The trio of Laurelle Weigl (18 points), Emily Knauff (16 points) and Tiffany Olsen (11 points) paced the offence. Weigl also grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Spartans close the regular season with three home games, including a pair this weekend against 5-9 Thompson Rivers at the Langley Events Centre.

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