Stu Walters/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER - The Trinity Western Spartans got out to a great start and were able to outlast the UBC Thunderbirds 75-71 in an overtime thriller Saturday night at War Memorial Gym in Vancouver, B.C.
Tezza Ratzlaff scored four of her team high 22 points in the extra frame including making both free throws to secure the four-point victory for the visitors. It was a back and forth battle that saw Trinity enjoy a much better start than the previous night, jumping out to a 24-15 first quarter advantage with Spartans forward Kayla Gordon leading the way, scoring nine of her 20 points on the night. Third year guard Sarah Buckingham also contributed secondary scoring for Trinity with 14 points.
The Thunderbirds trailed 39-31 at halftime but and came out with sharper execution in the third quarter, erasing the deficit by outscoring the Spartans 20 to 12. T-Birds second-year forward Keylyn Filewich doing most of the damage for the hosts scoring nine of her 10 points in the frame. For a second straight night 'Birds third-year guard Maddison Penn had the game high in points with 29 which included two key free throws with 8 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 63-63 and force overtime.
The Spartans outscored the Thunderbirds 12 to 8 in the extra 5 minute period to pick up their 6th victory in their last 7 outings.
Ratzlaff also led the Spartans in the rebound department with 15 as part of her standout performance but focused on her teammates post game. "We played right to the end and we fought so hard today, we got team looks and didn't stop fighting together. We got defensive stops, we kept rebounding like we had to do and we were able to shut them down on defence toward the end which was key."
The fourth-year forward was also proud of how the Spartans didn't panic when UBC erased the third quarter deficit and eventually forced overtime.
"We've become a lot more mature with that just staying with it together as a team and not collapsing under pressure."
With the win the Spartans improve to 6-2 and they'll next host Brandon next weekend. The Thunderbirds record falls to 4-4 and they'll travel to Winnipeg next weekend for back-to-back meetings with the Wesmen.
PHOTO: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds