SPARTANS EDGE BISONS, SET TWU’S ALL-TIME REBOUNDING RECORD

LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western collected an all-time high 55 rebounds, as the Spartans earned a 70-65 win over Manitoba Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

Natalie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) and Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) each had 11 boards, while Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) added six to lead a dominant Spartans performance on the glass that saw TWU out-rebound the Bisons 55-37.

The Spartans (8-5) held as much as a 17-lead midway through the final frame before holding off a hard-charging Bisons side for a five-point win.

While Manitoba (1-12) had a better shooting percentage from the field – 37.3 to 36.1 per cent – the Spartans efforts on the boards and a six-point edge from the free throw line proved to be the difference.

TWU's previous record on the glass was 53, which the Spartans had posted three times.

The Spartans were led offensively by Jessie Brown (Langley), who had 28 points, while Ratzlaff finished with a double-double, putting up 14 points to go with her 11 rebounds. Gordon added 19 points to her six boards. Carkner's rebound total marked a career high, bettering her previous best of seven (Nov. 26, 2015 against Saskatchewan).

Nicole Konieczny paced the Bisons with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Brittanie Parisen and Taylor Randall put up 11 points each. Rebecca Potter had a team-high nine boards.

"This is the type of game that in the past we have lost," said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. "We're at the point now where this is happening, but we're still finding a way to win. However we're not satisfied with the fact that we were holding our breath until the very end. I feel that at the end of the game, we paid the price for early opportunities that were missed. I feel like we left a lot of points off the board in the first half.

"But this is where we want to be. We want to learn how to win with good leads. For us, rebounding has been an issue and tonight we did a great job on the boards. But we need to maintain good shot selection to take advantage of those boards. We're happy to get the win, but we want to be a better team in tomorrow's game."

Brown had 15-point opening quarter to lead the Spartans to a 25-13 lead through 10 minutes. Ratzlaff added eight points and four rebounds. The Bisons had five players make one basket apiece.

The Bisons closed the gap in the second quarter, outscoring the Spartans 18-13, and trailed by just seven points, 38-31, at the break. Similar to the first quarter, Manitoba attacked with a balance offence that saw seven different players hit the scoresheet by halftime.

Manitoba also held Ratzlaff and Gordon to 31.8 per cent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. The Spartans duo entered the game both in the top five in the conference in shooting percentage.

While the Spartan shot just 27.8 per cent in the third quarter, the home side pushed its lead to 10 points, 58-48, thanks to nine of 10 shooting from the free throw line. Brown collected eight points in the quarter to lead TWU, while Konieczny and Randall had five points each for Manitoba.

TWU went ahead by 14 points, 69-55, with just over five minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but the Bisons closed the gap to five points, 70-65, with 1:32 remaining. However, neither team found the basket the rest of the way, with the Spartans holding on for their fourth win in their last five outings.

The teams meet in the rematch Saturday at 5 p.m. (PT) at the LEC.

Game Notes: TWU had 53-rebound efforts against Mount Royal (Feb. 7, 2014), Brandon (Nov. 3, 2007) and Thompson Rivers (Nov. 18, 2006)…the Spartans earned back-to-back wins over the Bisons last year, winning 80-62 and 55-48…the game featured TWU coach Cheryl Jean-Paul taking on her old university…Jean-Paul played with the Bisons for five years and earned conference all-star honours in 1999-2000.

-TW-

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