Spartans cap fall semester with sweep of Pronghorns

Spartans cap fall semester with sweep of Pronghorns

Mark Janzen, Trinity Western University

LANGLEY, British Columbia – Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) had 22 points to lead Trinity Western to a 70-56 win over Lethbridge and cap a weekend sweep of the Pronghorns Saturday at the David E. Enarson Gym.

The Spartans took an early first quarter lead and held an advantage the rest of the way.

After the Pronghorns closed the gap to three points late in the second quarter, TWU responded with a late first half surge and rolled that momentum into the second half.

The Spartans pushed its lead to as much as 14 in the third quarter and then up to 21 points in the fourth quarter, as the Spartans put the finishing touches on a 6-4 fall semester.

Jessie Brown (Langley) had 11 points for the Spartans, while Natalie Carkner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) had nine points and five rebounds and Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) had eight points, five rebounds and a team-high seven assists.

Ratzlaff, who had five rebounds to go with her 22-point effort, finished the weekend with 45 points and 15 boards.

Zoe Dahl had a team-high 14 points for Lethbridge (2-8, while Katie Keith had 11 points.

TWU, who shot 45.6 per cent, had 19 assists, compared to Lethbridge, who had just nine helpers. The Pronghorns shot 36.8 per cent from the field.

"I think we made more of a statement today," said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. "I thought the first half was quiet. We didn't play with as much assertion as I would have liked, but I liked the fact that we pushed towards the end of the second quarter and then followed through with that same intensity in the second half. I thought the first group did a great job of opening up the gap, which provided opportunities for other people to step in. I thought the ones that came in did a great job of maintaining defensive pressure."

The Spartans came out strong in the first quarter, shooting 42.9 per cent from the field while holding Lethbridge to 12.5 per cent, and building a 19-7 lead. Ratzlaff led TWU with six points while Kathryn Hankins had five of the Pronghorns seven points.

TWU continued to roll in the second quarter, taking a 14-point lead, at 27-13. Lethbridge roared back with an 11-0 run to close within three points after a Kaitlin Bracko lay-up. The Spartans reestablished a seven-point edge late in the quarter, going into the break leading 35-28.

Ratzlaff continued to lead TWU offensively with 12 first-half points while Hankins had 10 points for the Pronghorns.

TWU went right back to work in the third quarter, building 14-point lead once again thanks to a 10-point quarter from Ratzlaff. With TWU up by double-digits, the Spartans went into the fourth quarter in full control.

In the final frame, TWU extended its lead to 67-46 and cruised to the weekend sweep.

"We've put ourselves into a good spot to be able to control our own destiny when it comes to what will happen at the end of the season," Jean-Paul said. "It was a tremendous effort from everybody and it was good to end on that note and hopefully this provides momentum going into the second semester."

The Spartans return to Canada West league play Jan. 6-7 when they travel to play Winnipeg. TWU will play a pair of exhibition games at home against Thompson Rivers Dec. 30-31.

Lethbridge is back at home after the break and will host UNBC Jan. 6-7.

Game Notes: Last year, TWU was just 3-5 after the fall semester…the Spartans are 3-2 on home court this year…the Spartans have now won five straight games against Lethbridge, dating back to 2014.