REGINA – The Trinity Western Spartans women's basketball team battled the No. 3 Regina Cougars for 35 minutes, before dropping game two 57-41 to the Cougars Friday night to complete a two-game sweep over the Spartans in their Canada West quarterfinal series.
"I asked the team to battle and leave it all on the floor tonight and they did. It was nice to see us give ourselves a shot at taking a win away in this series but we just ran out of gas towards the end," commented TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. "It did not go our way tonight but I reminded them that they are history makers. We have been doing things the right way and we want to continue to build on this next phase of our program. We now have a picture of what it takes to get to Canada West final four and look forward to the next chance to get after it."
"I am so proud of the defensive effort and who this group has been all season long. They kept finding ways to fight and responded to the calls to step up every night, especially in games where our backs were to the wall."
"We had great leadership and wish our three seniors the best as they move on to the next step of their journeys. They have done so much for who we are today and leave a legacy of resilience and character that I know the girls will work hard to live up to."
Friday marked the fewest amount of combined points in a game involving the Cougars in nearly four years, but it was enough to send the U of R to the Canada West Final Four for the ninth time in the past 10 years. While tonight's final finishes TWU's first appearance in a Canada West quarter final series.
It wasn't until the fourth quarter that the No. 3-ranked Cougars were finally able to pull away from a game Trinity Western squad. Regina went on a 15-2 run that turned a two-point Spartans lead into a 49-38 advantage for the Cougars with two minutes to play.
Katie Polischuk led Regina with 13 points and chipped in with seven rebounds, while Sara Hubenig fell just a bucket short of a double-double with eight points and a team-leading 10 rebounds. Kyanna Giles, who hit a big three-pointer during the U of R's big run in the fourth, ended up with 10 points, six rebounds, and a game-high four assists.
The first quarter had a scoreless drought of nearly seven minutes, as Regina battled turnovers and Trinity Western went cold from both the field and the stripe. A layup by Polischuk fewer than two minutes in gave the Cougars a 4-2 lead, and it stayed that way until a Ratzlaff jumper in the paint with a minute and a half left in the quarter. The Cougars took a 7-6 lead after the first quarter, and the defence won the battle in the second period as well as Regina took a 22-19 lead into the halftime break.
Trinity Western led for the majority of the third, but never by more than three points. A basket by Regina's Christina McCusker sent the two teams into the fourth tied at 34-34, but it was all Regina in the fourth. The Cougars outscored TWU by a 23-7 margin in the final period, with Polischuk and Giles both hitting key triples in the fourth and buckets on back-to-back possessions by McCusker and Michaela Kleisinger giving Regina that big 11-point lead with two minutes to play.
Game Notes: The last time the Cougars were involved in a game with a fewer amount of combined points was back on Mar. 2, 2013 when they won the Canada West championship with a 53-37 win over Calgary… Regina won the two conference games 57-51 and 85-47 in Langley, B.C… Tonight's match was the final game for TWU fifth year's Natalie Carkner, Luca Schmidt, and Jamie Andrews-Stobart…