Ratzlaff earns double-double, Spartans beat Pronghorns

Ratzlaff earns double-double, Spartans beat Pronghorns

Mark Janzen, Trinity Western University

LANGLEY, British Columbia – Playing back at the David E. Enarson Gym on the Trinity Western campus, the Spartans women's basketball team led from the first minute to the last minute en route to a 74-64 win over Lethbridge Friday night.

The Spartans Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) had double-double, collecting 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, to help TWU improve to 5-4 on the season.

Early in the fourth quarter, Lethbridge (2-7) closed the gap to just two points, 59-57, but TWU responded with an 8-0 run to open a 10-point advantage and put the game out of reach. The Pronghorns were never closer than six points the rest of the way.

Lethbridge's Jessica Bachynski countered for the visitors with a double-double herself, tallying 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Zoe Dahl had a team-high 16 points.

As a team, the Spartans shot 41.8 per cent from the field while Lethbridge shot 41.1 per cent.

TWU took a 5-3 lead early in the first quarter and, after that, never trailed. The Spartans held a 43-37 halftime lead.

Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) had 16 points and seven boards for the Spartans while Jessie Brown (Langley) also had 16 points.

"I think it's important for us in this stage to understand the value of battling hard," said Spartans coach Chery Jean-Paul. "They pushed us and got close a few times, but we didn't allow them to take the lead, so, in one regard, we pushed back and said, 'not this time.' But we want to be able to take an early eight or 10 point lead and grow that lead, so we don't need to overextend people. This is the next phase of our growth. I thought we had some great stretches today, but others where we went a bit soft with our defensive intensity. But offensively, I thought the high-low was a good look for us today.

"Now, for us, we need to be ready to battle tomorrow because to win two games in this conference is always tough."

Shooting 75 per cent in the first quarter, the Spartans raced out to a 21-16 lead through 10 minutes. While Lethbridge shot just 36.8 per cent, the visitors hung around thanks to seven offensive rebounds. Ratzlaff opened the game shooting five for six and collecting 11 points.

The Spartans had as much as a nine-point lead midway through the second quarter, but the Pronghorns closed the gap late before going into the break down by just six.

Ratzlaff led TWU in scoring with 13 points while Brown had 12. Dahl led Lethbridge with 15 points.

With TWU shooting just 33.3 per cent from the field, the Pronghorns were able to claw to within four points, 57-53, after three quarters.

After a Bachynski lay-up made it a two-point game early in the final frame, TWU's Gordon struck back with a jumper to spark the Spartans eight-point run. With TWU in control down the stretch, the Pronghorns never threatened the Spartans lead.

Game Notes: This was Ratzlaff's second double-double of the season…she had 29 points and 12 rebounds in a win over UBC Okanagan (Nov. 4)…TWU has won four consecutive games against Lethbridge…the last time the Pronghorns beat the Spartans was Nov. 14, 2014 (67-55)…last year, the Spartans won both of their games with the Pronghorns, beating Lethbridge 86-63 and 78-62.

-TW-