The UBC Thunderbirds couldn’t get over a slow start in a 75-52 loss to the Trinity Western Spartans on Friday night at War Memorial Gym. With the loss, the Birds drop to 3-6 while the Spartans remain unbeaten at 5-0 in Canada West action after two straight weeks without a regular season game.
âIt was really about seeing it as a developmental process rather than free time,â said TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul after TWU enjoyed their return to competition. âWe made sure we could work on more meaningful minutes for our roster. We have two years of rookies who have very little playing experience, so we challenged them to be ready for this weekend. I think our first group did a great job of creating this opportunity for them and they came and played with confidence. The rest shouldn’t affect your encouragement, your communication or your confidence, and when we focused on those things, the game took care of itself. “
Hailey Consulting led the Thunderbirds with 13 points, Kate johnson added 12 points, and Olivia weekes and Dina strujic each had six rebounds and two steals in the loss.
Nicole Fransson had 14 points and nine rebounds in the first half for the Spartans – finishing with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Jayden Gill had 15 points with five rebounds and five steals, while Kianna Wiens had 10 points and eight rebounds in the victory.
Wiens opened the scoring with a triple before Fransson made two free throws and Gill directly cut the edge for an unhindered layup and a 7-0 lead. Wiens hit another jumper to give the Spartans a 12-point advantage before Gill added the transition lead to 16-2 TWU halfway through the first. Weekes brought the Birds back to the board with two longs, and Johnson brought UBC down to less than 10 consecutive buckets before Strujic made it an eight-point game at 20-12 TWU heading into the second quarter.
Hailey Consulting followed his own rebound early in the second to bring the score to 27-18 Spartans and dropped a three on the next possession to bring the ‘Birds back to under six, but the T-Bird run was short duration and Fransson restored the ten-point cushion for TWU before Kailey Reimer drained two longlines to bring the Spartans to halftime 37-23.
– UBC Thunderbirds (@ubctbirds) December 4, 2021
Jolene Vlieg hit a three for Trinity Western before Gill cut for a layup and a 45-27 lead in the third. The visitors continued to put the pressure on and went 10-0 at the halfway point before Emily martindale laid-up to stop the race at 55-31 TWU, but the Spartans held a 59-37 lead after three quarters.
Weekes rolled to the brim for a tough and hurt hoop early in the fourth quarter, but costly turnovers continued to be a problem for UBC in the fourth as they couldn’t close the deficit.
âEach team will make the playoffs,â said Jean-Paul. “For us, it’s about making a statement before the Christmas holidays. We just want to get in the position of being 6-0â¦ not overthinking being 6-0.”
The two teams will face off in a rematch at War Memorial Gym on Saturday, December 4th.eat 5:00 p.m. PST to close the calendar year with their third and final Canada West regular season meet.