Cougars off to Canada West Final Four after win over TWU

Cougars off to Canada West Final Four after win over TWU

University of Regina Sports Information

REGINA, Sask. – It wasn't exactly an oil painting, but the University of Regina's women's basketball team grinded out a 57-41 victory over Trinity Western on Friday night to complete a two-game sweep over the Spartans in their Canada West quarter-final series.

Friday marked the fewest amount of combined points in a game involving the Cougars in nearly four years, but it was enough to send the U of R to the Canada West Final Four for the ninth time in the past 10 years.

"I've been doing this a long time now, and that's what elimination games will look like," Cougars head coach Dave Taylor said. "There's no style points this time of year, and our defence was what allowed us to come away with the win tonight. Once we get to this point of the season, every win is a good win and we're happy to be moving on."

It wasn't until the fourth quarter that the No. 3-ranked Cougars were finally able to pull away from a game Trinity Western squad. Regina went on a 15-2 run that turned a two-point Spartans lead into a 49-38 advantage for the Cougars with two minutes to play.

Katie Polischuk led Regina with 13 points and also chipped in with seven rebounds, while Sara Hubenig fell just a bucket short of a double-double with eight points and a team-leading 10 rebounds. Kyanna Giles, who hit a big three-pointer during the U of R's big run in the fourth, ended up with 10 points, six rebounds, and a game-high four assists.

Trinity Western's Kayla Gordon had a double-double in the loss, scoring 10 points while leading all players with 12 rebounds. Tessa Ratzlaff had a game-high 16 points for the Spartans.

The first quarter had a scoreless drought of nearly seven minutes, as Regina battled turnovers and Trinity Western went cold from both the field and the stripe. A layup by Polischuk fewer than two minutes in gave the Cougars a 4-2 lead, and it stayed that way until a Ratzlaff jumper in the paint with a minute and a half left in the quarter. The Cougars took a 7-6 lead after the first quarter, and the defence won the battle in the second period as well as Regina took a 22-19 lead into the halftime break.

Trinity Western led for the majority of the third, but never by more than three points. A basket by Regina's Christina McCusker sent the two teams into the fourth tied at 34-34, but it was all Regina in the fourth. The Cougars outscored TWU by a 23-7 margin in the final period, with Polischuk and Giles both hitting key triples in the fourth and buckets on back-to-back possessions by McCusker and Michaela Kleisinger giving Regina that big 11-point lead with two minutes to play.

The Cougars will closely watch a pair of out-of-town contests on Saturday as two of the other quarter-final series will require the full three games to settle. Regina will play the winner of Victoria and Winnipeg in the semifinals of the Canada West Final Four next weekend, which will be hosted by the University of Saskatchewan if the No. 1-seeded Huskies win their Game 3 matchup against Fraser Valley on Saturday. If the No. 8-seeded Cascades manage to complete the upset, the U of R would host the Canada West Final Four next Friday and Saturday at the CKHS.

NOTES: The last time the Cougars were involved in a game with a fewer amount of combined points was back on Mar. 2, 2013 when they won the Canada West championship with a 53-37 win over Calgary.