Trinity Western Spartans' Jessie Brown scored a team-high 16 points on Saturday night as the Spartans opened the Canada West season 2-0 for the first time since 1999. The Spartans were in Winnipeg to face the Manitoba Bisons.

Trinity Western Spartans' Jessie Brown scored a team-high 16 points on Saturday night as the Spartans opened the Canada West season 2-0 for the first time since 1999. The Spartans were in Winnipeg to face the Manitoba Bisons.

Spartans open season 2-0

Trinity Western women's basketball team off to best start since 1999, men's team drops pair of games as Spartans battle Manitoba Bisons

A pair of narrow victories on the road have given the Trinity Western Spartans women’s basketball team a 2-0 start to the Canada West season, the first time since 1999 they have accomplished that feat.

The Spartans were in Winnipeg at the Investors Group Athletic Centre up against the Bisons, winning 61-56 and 62-61 last week.

The second game saw Trinity Western in control throughout the game before the Bisons finished the game on an 11-0 run to come within a point.

“A win is a win,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul.

“Playing with the lead is definitely something we need to keep working on, but to start 2-0 on the road is something that we don’t want to take away from the team.

“We’ve been showing some great things in getting leads and we shot the ball much better today. With this being early in the regular season, we know we have so much to work with and are excited to learn how to play our style and our pace with a lead.”

The Spartans shot 47.1 per cent from the field, compared to Manitoba’s 37.1 per cent.

Jessie Brown scored a team-high 16 points for the Spartans while Tessa Ratzlaff and Kayla Gordon added 14 points apiece.

Gordon and Luca Schmidt each pulled down seven rebounds and Schmidt added five assists.

In the first game, a big difference was foul shooting.

Trinity Western was 22-for-30 while Manitoba was three-for-eight.

Gordon led the Spartans with a dozen points and seven rebounds while Kristin Ford had 10 points. Schmidt had nine points, seven rebounds and five assists.

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The Spartans men’s team was not as successful in their two-day battle against the Bisons.

Trinity Western lost 84-56 and 96-78 to Manitoba.

“Our shooting percentages are killing us and they got to the free throw line twice as often as we did,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen.

The home team had an 81.8 field goal percentage during the first quarter and finished the game at 55.4 per cent overall while TWU was 33.3 per cent from the field in the first quarter and just 47.0 per cent overall.

“We saw some moments tonight where we played much better. So we’re going to work off that and keep on encouraging the guys,” Allen said.

“We just need them to understand the systems we’re running a little better so they can play by habit.”

Jesse Jeffers sunk 24 points to lead the Spartans while Denny McDonald added 15 points.

The Bisons had a decisive advantage along the boards, out-rebounding the Spartans 42-23.

In the teams’ first game, the two squads were evenly matched through the first quarter, which say Manitoba leading by six points, 18-12. In the second quarter the Bisons started to take control as their defence and rebounding held the Spartans to nine points as Manitoba entered the break with a 37-21 lead.

Manitoba continued to dominate in the third quarter as they blew the game open with a 24-11 quarter to lead by 29 points, 61-32 heading into the final 10 minutes of the game.

The Spartans found their scoring touch in the final frame as they outscored the Bisons 24-23 to make the final 84-56 for Manitoba.

Nicholas Tancon and Vartan Tanielian led the Spartans with 10 points apiece.

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Both Spartan squads play their home openers this weekend as they host Alberta on Friday and Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.