REGINA – The University of Regina's women's basketball team opened its best-of-three Canada West quarterfinal series against Trinity Western with an 82-59 win over the Spartans on Thursday night at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.
"There are a lot of positive things to take out of three of today's quarters and fixes that we can make, especially from the second quarter. We spent a lot of the game chasing the passes and they are too good a team at moving the ball and diving to the block for that to happen," commented TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. "But to start the game on a strong note was one of our goals and we achieved it so tomorrow it's expanding and stretching that through the entire game. We played a very competitive second half and so we are looking forward to building on that and continuing to grow as a program. Each game is teaching us about the level of intensity and compete required to win in the playoffs and this is great post-season experience for our program against a team who has been here many times before."
The Cougars were the better shooting team finishing at 46.2 percent (30-65) from the field, while the Spartans finished at 32.2 percent (19-59). Both teams had 20 free throws. Regina made 17, while TWU made 16. The strong shooting came from Regina's ability to get shots in the paint as the Cougars finished with a 48-14 advantage for points in the key.
Seeded No. 2 in the Canada West postseason, the Cougars got off to a slow start as Trinity Western led 19-18 after the opening 10 minutes. However, it was all Regina from there, as the home side outscored TWU by a 25-6 margin in the second quarter and led by at least 16 points the rest of the way.
Katie Polischuk led all players with 23 points for Regina in the win, a good portion of which came from the stripe as she made a career-high nine free throws. Kyanna Giles scored 10 points in the first quarter alone and ended up with 15 to go along with eight rebounds, while Sara Hubenig added 10 points.
Kayla Gordon and Natalie Carkner combined for well over half of TWU's offence. Gordon finished with 21 points and tied Giles for the game high with eight rebounds, while Carkner was 5-for-9 from three-point range and scored 15 points.
The No. 3-ranked Cougars scored the first seven points of the game, but the visiting Spartans – Canada West's No. 7 seed in the playoffs – went on a big 14-4 run that turned a seven-point Regina lead into a three-point advantage for TWU. But that turned out to be the only lead of the game for Trinity Western, as the Cougars scored the next eight points and took a 43-25 lead into the halftime break after the big second quarter.
The Cougars led by as many as 27 points in the third quarter and though the Spartans tried to get back into it with 10-2 and 9-0 runs in the second half, it wasn't enough. Back-to-back triples by Carkner brought the score to 74-58 with just under six minutes to go, but Regina called a timeout and only allowed one point the rest of the way.
Game 2 of the series set for Friday night (7:00 pm CST) at the CKHS.
Tomorrows game can all be watched live on canadawest.tv
Game Notes: TWU was outscored 25-6 in the second quarter…in the other three quarters the Cougars had a 57-53… Regina had the edge in rebounding 45-32…TWU had 12 steals to Regina's 11…the Spartans finished with 20 turnovers, while the Cougars finished with 17…Regina won the two conference games 57-51 and 85-47 in Langley, B.C.