Thompson Rivers WolfPack feast on local Spartans

After a back and forth first half, the Thompson Rivers WolfPack exploded in the third quarter, outscoring the host Trinity Western University

Spartans 17-5 to open a 10-point lead en route to a 64-51 win in exhibition university women’s basketball action Dec. 30 at the Langley Events Centre.

Kassie Colonna led TRU with a game-high 14 points to help the WolfPack earn a convincing road win. Michelle Bos was the WolfPack’s leader on the glass as she collected a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Spartans were led by Langley’s Jessie Brown, who had 11 points while Surrey native Chantelle Martin had 10 points. Langley’s Luca Schmidt pulled down a team-high seven rebounds for the Spartans.

TWU, which sits at 4-6 in the Pioneers Division, shot 50 per cent from the field in the first half but by the end of the game shot just 33.9 per cent (21-62).

TRU, which posted a 7-1 record in the first semester in the Explorers Division, shot 35.7 per cent (25-70).

The Spartans were 1-12 from three-point range while the WolfPack were good on six of their 21 three-point shots.

“There’s a reason why TRU is the top team in their division right now,” Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul said. “They find ways to grind out wins and I think they out-worked us a few times. I think there were a few moments, especially in the third quarter, where we didn’t execute and then turned over the ball and gave up easy scores. We can’t make those types of mistakes on both ends of the floor over those stretches.

“Our execution early on was solid but when they tightened up defensively we struggled. We also have to protect the paint better. But I thought we saw some good things from some people who didn’t get a lot of playing time in the first semester.”

The Spartans got off to a quick start in the opening quarter and with TWU shooting 46.2 per cent from the field compared to TRU’s 21.4 per cent, the home side took a 15-9 lead after 10 minutes.

TWU went up by as much as nine points early in the second quarter, 20-11, but TRU bounced back to take a brief 27-26 lead.

A fast-break layup from Schmidt reestablished a five-point TWU lead at 31-26. The WolfPack’s Sarah Malate knocked down her second three-pointer of the quarter late to make it 31-29 at halftime.

The WolfPack opened the second half with a 6-0 run only to see TWU respond and even the score 35-35.

However, the visitors then went on their best run of the night, exploding for nine straight points and a 44-35 lead. The WolfPack was up 46-36 going to the final frame.

In the fourth quarter, TRU outscored TWU 18-15 as it cruised to the 13-point win.

The Spartans are back on the court this weekend (Jan. 2-3) when they will travel to play a pair of games against North Idaho.

TWU returns to Canada West action Jan. 9-10 when it hosts Regina at the LEC.

TRU resumes its regular season schedule Jan. 9-10 when it hosts UBC Okanagan.

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