Their Canada West semifinal series didn’t go as planned, but the Trinity Western Spartans still have one shot at extending their season for a few more games.
The women’s basketball team lost 2-1 in their best-of-three quarter-final series with the host Saskatchewan Huskies, but head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul is hoping the lessons her team learned in defeat will help them as they get set for the Canada West bronze medal game.
The Spartans will host the Calgary Dinos — a team they split two games with earlier this season — with the winner advancing to the U Sports national championships.
“Game three gave us some invaluable lessons to learn and take into this week of training. We did a great job of pushing this series to three games but didn’t perform well when it counted tonight,” Jean-Paul said following her team’s 72-48 loss on Saturday night at the Ron & Jane Graham Court at the PAC in Saskatoon.
“We never had the push back that we showed last night and the shots weren’t dropping and we gave Saskatchewan too many opportunities to do what they do well.
“We needed to be more competitive in a few areas of the game but if we want to get to the next level we need to bring more. We have to remember how far we’ve already come and focus on the fact that we still have an opportunity ahead of us.”
The Spartans have already set a series of program bests, including winning 16 regular season games, hosting the quarter-finals for the first time and advancing to the semifinals for the first time.
They also had two players earn conference all-star status, including for the first time placing someone on the first team.
Tessa Ratzlaff was named a first team all-star while Kayla Gordon was a third team selection.
TWU had lost game one 75-62 but stayed alive with a 67-60 win in game two.
But the Cougars stifled the Spartans offence as only one player, Sarah Buckingham, managed double digits with 12 points. The team’s ‘big three’ of Ratzlaff, Gordon and Jessie Brown, which has carried the offence most nights, was limited to a combined 19 points.
The Spartans host the Dinos at the Langley Events Centre on March 3 with an 8 p.m. tip-off.