VANCOUVER – UBC's Maddison Penn was a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor in leading the Thunderbirds to a 69-58 victory over the Trinity Western Spartans Friday at War Memorial Gym. The loss snapped the Spartans program-record five-game winning streak.
Penn led the T-Birds (4-3) in both points with 27 and rebounds with 17, and was especially dominant under her basket with 14 of those rebounds off the defensive glass.
TWU's Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) had a team-high 15 points, while fifth-year forwards Ashleigh Barnes (Oceanside, Calif.) and Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) helped the cause with nine and seven points respectively. Gordon also had a team-high 10 rebounds for a Spartans side that fell to 5-2 on the season.
Second-year forward Keylyn Filewich added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunderbirds who improve to 4-3, while the Spartans saw their five-game winning streak snapped and their record fall to 5-2 on the Canada West season.
The Thunderbirds got off to a quick start, which included a mix of stingy defence, combined with scoring in transition, helping them get out to a 19-10 first quarter lead.
The 'Birds increased their lead to 40-21 at halftime with help from third-year guard Jessica Hanson pouring in 11 of her 14 total points after 20 minutes of play. Hanson was also dangerous from beyond the arc draining three of her six, three-point attempts. Ratzlaff scored six points to lead the Spartans at the break.
TWU showed a renewed energy in the second half, outscoring the 'Birds 37-29 to cut into the 19-point deficit, narrowing it to an 11-point differential by the final horn.
Head Coach Cheryl Jean-Paul
"We got caught settling tonight in the first half and that really played into our deficits, rather than to our strengths. The second half was a much better display of how we need to play together on both sides of the ball and we are looking forward to a second chance tomorrow to respond to our own expectations of ourselves. This group works hard and I know they will bring their best tomorrow. Playing in tough gyms against tough opponents takes a deeper understanding of ourselves and what we are capable of achieving. We've responded in the last few weeks and I'm excited to see how we respond for 40 minutes tomorrow."
• The Spartans were coming off a weekend sweep of Victoria, which saw TWU make program history by extending its winning streak to five games.
• Gordon has collected 10 or more rebounds in six of TWU's first seven games this year.
• TWU's Jessie Brown (Langley, B.C.), who averaged 18.3 points per game over her last three outings, was held to six points.
TWU will play at UBC in the rematch Saturday at 5 p.m. (PT).