For the first time in program history, the Trinity Western Spartans women’s basketball team finds itself ranked nationally.
The Spartans were listed 10th when U Sports released their most recent rankings on Tuesday morning.
TWU cracked the top 10 after earning a split with the Saskatchewan Huskies over the weekend, beating the sixth-ranked (now No. 7) Huskies 69-68 on Friday before Saskatchewan took the rematch 82-64.
The win was the first-ever for the Spartans in Saskatoon and at 12-4, TWU has clinched their second consecutive Canada West post-season berth.
The first game went down to the wire with the Spartans rallying from a 66-60 deficit with four minutes remaining to win when Julia Marshall hit a clutch free throw with eight seconds remaining, snapping a 68-68 tie.
Sarah Buckingham played a big role in the comeback, hitting two three-pointers as TWU went on an 8-0 run late.
Kayla Gordon led the offence with 19 points while Jessie Brown and Buckingham each had 14. Tessa Ratzlaff had 13 to surpass 1,000 points for her TWU career.
The Huskies took the rematch 82-64.
“We’ve been talking all week about Saskatchewan being able to point out our gaps and that is what we saw today. Taking advantage of a few slower defensive rotations, giving up a few too many big shots and free throws without being able to punch back offensively really caught us in the end,” said TWU coach Cheryl Jean-Paul.
“But to be able to leave with a split is not something we are taking lightly. It’s a big step forward for us and we still have room to grow, so we will keep getting after it and getting better one practice at a time.”
In the rematch, Ratzlaff led the offence with 21 points while Gordon had 16 and is now tied as the program’s all-time leading scorer, matching former Spartan Holly Strom, who finished with 1,112 points.
The pair were teammates in 2014, Strom’s final season and Gordon’s first.
The TWU men’s team was not as fortunate, losing 97-71 and 80-71 to the Huskies to fall to 1-15.
Pogos Trunyan led the offence for the Spartans with 19 points in the first game while Vartan Tanielian had a team-high 22 points the second night.
Both Spartan teams play their final regular season home games at the Langley Events Centre this weekend against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack with games on Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m.