A dominant fourth quarter has helped the Trinity Western Spartans draw first blood.
The Spartans women’s basketball team trailed by five points but outscored the visiting Alberta Pandas 24-10 over the final 12 minutes to win 62-53 in game one of the Canada West best-of-three quarter-final series at the Langley Events Centre on Feb. 15.
The teams took turns winning quarters.
The No. 6 Pandas led the No. 3 Spartans 11-7 after one quarter. TWU rallied in the second to lead 24-23 at the half but Alberta bounced back in the third to retake the lead 43-38.
“I think the first quarter was a bit frantic and I think both teams played with a lot of nerves, but we eventually settled into the game,” said TWU coach Cheryl Jean-Paul.
“Playing at our tempo for the entire game really allowed us to break out in the fourth quarter.”
The Spartans shot 78.6 per cent from the field in that final frame, making 11 of their 14 shots.
A big story of the second half was the play of Kayla Gordon, as the fifth-year forward had 16 of her team-high 20 points over the final 24 minutes.
Tessa Ratzlaff added 15 points and eight rebounds for the winner.
Alberta was led by 27 points from Emma Kary, but no other Panda scored more than six points.
The Spartans will look to close the series tonight (Friday, Feb. 16) as they host game two at the LEC with a 7 p.m. tip-off. If necessary, game three would be the following night, also at the LEC.
“Alberta is a tough team to play against — they’re so big, they’re long and they’re physical,” Jean-Paul said. “Those are things that we’ve had to play against all season long.
“We’ve just had some very critical weekends in the past semester to get us ready for this. I think our team was ready to battle and that’s what they did.”
The winner of the series advances to the the Canada West Final Four and would face the victor between No. 2 Saskatchewan and No. 7 Winnipeg.