LANGLEY, British Columbia –The UBC Thunderbirds outscored the Spartans 10-4 in the final minutes to earn a 62-53 victory over Trinity Western Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C. The win gives UBC a 16-4 record on the season, while the loss drops TWU to 12-8. The Spartans 12 wins and four games over .500 is a program best.
"In terms of overall battle and playing with passion and playing to make a statement to ourselves on how hard we are willing to battle in order to get the job done I was very happy with what we did today," commented TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. "There was a sense of purpose in what everyone was trying to do today and going into play-offs that is what you want to see from your team. You want to see the fire in their eyes and their ability to get after things."
Third year forwardTessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) with 16 points, fourth year forward Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) with 15 points, and eight rebounds and third year guard Jessie Brown (Langley, B.C.) with 10 points, and three assists led the Spartans. While Kara Spotton with 14 points, and 10 rebounds, Jessica Hanson with 16 points and Maddison Penn with 11 points led the Thunderbirds.
"It has been a record-breaking semester for us. It feels like every weekend there are new highlights being created for us. That is exciting. To have Jessie set new records and for Kayla to have a great weekend last weekend and to set new standards, and for Tessa to have some outstanding games this season and set new standards – Those are big shoes that they are trying to fill for themselves every night. But that is what it takes to get us to the next level."
TWU finished the evening with a 41-37 edge in rebounds, while the Thunderbirds finished the night out shooting the Spartans 46.2 percent (23-58) to 33.3 percent (22-66). UBC finished the night shooting 12-15 from the foul line, while TWU went 5-6. Both teams made four three-point shots. TWU went 4-21, while UBC finished at 4-12.
The two teams were highly efficient in the opening quarter. TWU and UBC both missed the first shots of the game, but over the next five minutes, the Spartans shot 6-8 from the field, while the T-Birds shot 4-4 as TWU led 13-11. UBC would remain perfect from the field for the remainder of the quarter, while TWU cooled off as the Thunderbirds led 20-17 at the end of the opening 10 minutes. UBC finished the quarter shooting 88.9 percent (8-9), while TWU finished at 40 percent (8-20). Twelve different players scored for the two teams, with TWU's Tessa Ratzlaff leading the way with six points.
The second quarter was a more defensive battle as both teams saw there shooting percentages drop dramatically. Halfway into the quarter UBC had expanded their lead to six points, 25-19, after a Kara Spotton jump shot. Back-to-back jumpers and two made free throws by TWU's Ratzlaff tied the game at 25-25 with three minutes remaining in the half. The Thunderbirds finished the second quarter on a 6-2 run to take a 31-27 lead into the half-time break. Ratzlaff led the Spartans at the half with 12 points, while Jessica Hanson led the Thunderbirds with nine points. TWU finished the first half shooting 32.4 percent (11-34), while UBC finished at 46.5 percent (12-26).
The Spartans started the second half with baskets from baskets from Kayla Gordon and Ratzlaff to tie the game at 31-31. Spotton made it five straight points for the Thunderbirds took a 38-33 lead with six minutes remaining in the quarter. A basket by UBC's Andrea Strujic gave the visitors an eight-point lead, 44-36 with two minutes remaining. TWU second year guard Breanna Cabuco (Coquitlam, B.C.) made it a six point UBC lead to end the third quarter leading. 44-38. UBC finished the third quarter shooting 26.3 percent (5-19), while TWU finished shooting 33.3 percent (5-15).
TWU started the fourth quarter with back-to-back three pointers by Jessie Brown to the game at 44-44 with seven minutes remaining. UBC regained a five-point lead, 52-47 after a Jessica Hanson jumper with four minutes remaining. Kayla Gordon cut the UBC lead to two points, 53-51, with just over two minutes remaining. It was as close as TWU would get down the stretch as UBC finished with a 9-2 run to make the final 62-53 for the Thunderbirds.
The two teams will now wait out the final Canada West conference games to determine the final RPI's and play-off positioning. Both TWU and UBC are scheduled to host opening round quarter-final action this coming week.
Game Notes: With her first three pointer of the night, TWU's Jessie Brown broke the TWU single season three-point record for made three point baskets… Brown finishes the season 61 three point baskets in Canada West play, which is the ninth highest in Canada West history… tonight's match was the final regular season game for TWU graduating fifth year's Natalie Carkner (Port Coquitlam,B.C.) – five points, two assists, Luca Schmidt (Langley, B.C.) – five rebounds, three assist, three points and Jamie Andrews-Stobart (Edmonton) – two points, six rebounds, as well as UBC graduating fifth years Kara Spotton, Andrea Strujic, and Susan Thompson…