Spartans ready to tip off hoops season

Key is for Trinity Western women's basketball team to play to its own strengths, says coach

Trinity Western Spartans Emily Knauff is one of three returning starters from last season’s squad.

Trinity Western Spartans Emily Knauff is one of three returning starters from last season’s squad.

Winning the games they are supposed to and playing their own style will be key for the Trinity Western Spartans.

Last season, the women’s basketball team finished 8-10 and missed the Canada West playoffs by one game. And the Spartans had a great chance to earn a post-season berth but dropped a pair of games down the stretch to the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, who finished 9-9.

This year, with two expansion programs in the Canada West, Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul knows her team needs to take advantage of the new programs.

“There is definitely an opportunity to get a few more wins,” she said.

This marks Jean-Paul’s third year at the helm of the team and the Spartans future looks bright with just two players entering their fifth and final year of eligibility.

They also return s a trio of starters in Holly Strom, Stephanie Carkner and Emily Knauff, as well as both Sarah Cleveland and Janelle Traber who saw starting duty at times last season.

Strom led the team in scoring and rebounding with 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Jean-Paul said it will be imperative for the team to play to its own strengths — speed and outside shooting — to overcome its lack of size.

“Any time you try to play someone else’s game, you are in trouble,” she said.

“We are a small team; we can’t play big.”

Laurissa Weigl, Chelsey Olsen and Chantelle Martin — who redshirted last season  — are among the newcomers expected to take on bigger roles in the 2012/13 campaign.

Trinity Western opens the season with a pair of home games at the Langley Events Centre on Friday and Saturday versus the UBC Thunderbirds.

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