Strom a bright spot as Spartans season comes to an end

Trinity Western Spartans Emily Knauff scored 20 points in her final university game. The Spartans fell 84-76 to the Fraser Valley Cascades at the Langley Events Centre. - TWU Athletic Department
Trinity Western Spartans Emily Knauff scored 20 points in her final university game. The Spartans fell 84-76 to the Fraser Valley Cascades at the Langley Events Centre.
— image credit: TWU Athletic Department

The Trinity Western Spartans played the Fraser Valley Cascades close, but could not pull off the upset, dropping a pair of Canada West conference tilts to close the season.

The Spartans lost 77-66 in Abbotsford on Friday and 84-76 on Saturday at the Langley Events Centre in women's basketball action.

The victories clinched the Canada West Pacific Division title for the fourth-ranked Cascades (18-4) while Trinity Western saw their season end with a 7-15 record, good for sixth place in the eight-team division.

One bright spot for the Spartans this season was the play of Holly Strom, who set a host of new program records — single-season points, rebounds and blocks — as well as finishing as the top scorer in Canada West with 19.2 points per game.

"Honestly, it's hard for me to answer what went well this season," Strom said.

"I just wanted to have fun playing this year. It was still hard, but I just wanted to play for the team and enjoy the season.

"Holly has just become a really special basketball player and she's taken it all in stride," said coach Cheryl Jean-Paul.

"It's not an ego thing for her and, as she's said before, it's about glorifying God.

"It's been a great snapshot of the other side of what's important at Trinity Western. We are celebrating her basketball success, but we're also celebrating the fact she is doing what she was created to do and she's is doing it well.

In Saturday's game, the Cascades erased an early 7-0 Spartan lead, going up 39-37 at the half. The Spartans cut the deficit to one after three quarters, and had tied the score at 71 early in the fourth before the visitors scored 13 of the final 18 points to win by eight.

"For us to play good basketball against a top team is an affirmation of the hard work we've been putting in," Jean-Paul said.

"There was fight all the way to the end; we were trading baskets forever, but in the end, we couldn't match the spurt they had."

It was the final university game for graduating seniors Emily Knauff, Sarah Cleveland and Stephanie Carkner.

"I thought the seniors finished really well. I couldn't have asked for a better way for them to finish their careers," Jean-Paul said.

Strom had 24 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots while Knauff had 20. Cleveland chipped in with 14, including four of the team's five three-pointers.

The Spartans also came up with 13 steals.

Strom was also the top scorer in Friday's loss, but was limited to a dozen points. Cleveland and Chantelle Martin both came off the bench to score 11 and 10 points, respectively.

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