Ali Baggott, University of Victoria

It was a tough finish to the 2018 half of the season for the University of Victoria Vikes women’s basketball team who had a game-costing shooting percentage through three quarters to lose 71-62 to the Trinity Western Spartans on Nov. 24 at the CARSA Performance Gym. Trinity Western improve to 7-3 as the Vikes fall to 6-4 heading in to the winter break.

Trinity Western’s Sarah Buckingham put up 26 point and eight rebounds in 37 minutes played to keep the Spartans on pace. Nicole Fransson put up 17 points in her 16 minutes played after getting into foul trouble early in the game. Not to be deterred, the Spartans had quality points come from the bench including seven points from Breanna Cabuco.

For the Vikes, Ashlyn Day led with 14 points and five rebounds, while Katie Langdon had 13 points and seven rebounds.

“(Trinity Western) played with more energy and they played more like a team from start to finish and deserved that win,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair. “We were hoping to get bailed out on foul calls. We weren’t strong on the ball and missed a lot of easy ones. Their bench came through and ours didn’t.”

The opening half was a recipe for disaster for the home side as the Vikes shot just 21 per cent, while the Spartans were at 51. Luckily, for Victoria, Trinity Western conceded several unnecessary turnovers that prevented the deficit from being any worse. The Spartans led by as much as 17, thanks to the quality shooting of veteran Buckingham. The fifth-year had 15 points and was three-for-three from distance.

Down, 36-19, Morgan Roskelley hit the team’s first and only three of the half and it was timely as the Vikes had missed shots on the last three possessions. The home side shot 7-for-35 from the field in a half that saw Katie Langdon lead in scoring with seven points. Trinity Western capitalized for nine points on Vikes turnovers and out-shot the home side 18-12 and 20-10 in the first and second quarters, respectively.

Typical sharp shooters Amira Giannattasio, for Victoria, and Nicole Fransson, for Trinity Western, were forced to their bench as they each picked up two fouls in the first quarter.  Buckingham continued to spearhead the Spartans to a 38-22 lead at half time.

Mid-way through the third Jolene Vlieg grabbed a nifty pass under the hoop and dropped a hook shot for the 49-29 Trinity Western lead, only to be answered by a nice jumper from Vikes guard Calli McMillan in the other end. That was a small momentum consolation for the Vikes and on the next Trinity Western possession Giannattasio stole the ball and her breakaway efforts cut the deficit to 16, down 49-33.

With Fransson back on the floor, Buckingham had her six-foot-one body to find in the paint and the Spartans continued to advance their lead, up 53-37 with two minutes to go in the third. Fifth year Tessa Needham and second year Kianna Wiens kept the ball moving at pace to create the space in between the Vikes as Buckingham ended the quarter with 24 points, while Fransson finished with 11. The Spartans sat on a 56-37 advantage heading in to the final frame.

In the fourth quarter, the Vikes made their biggest strides to cut down the lead as Ashlyn Day and Aleah Ashlee were finding the hoop, down 64-51, only to be answered by a long two from Needham in the other end. Day and Langdon combined well to cut the deficit to 11 as Day found Langdon under the hoop. Back the other way Langdon picked up a steal that resulted in Giannattasio setting up Day for a three.

The Vikes out-shot the Spartans 25-15 but it was too little, too late to make up for the opening three quarter damage.

“I thought we didn’t play as a team at all and that was just really, really disappointing to watch,” added Sinclair. “If there is a positive that comes from it I hope we go in to the break with some motivation to get better. At the end of the day it’s one game and if we want to contend and move beyond where we have been we can’t rely on just shooting the ball well. We have to be able to defend so hopefully it gives us some motivation.”

The Spartans wrapped up with a 71-62 victory to wrap up the 2018 half of the Canada West season. The Vikes will regroup in 2019 with home games against Regina, Jan. 4-5, while the Spartans will host Winnipeg on the same weekend.

SCORING SUMMARY
TWU: 18-20-18-15 : 71
VIC: 12-10-15-25 : 62

SCORING LEADERS
TWU: Sarah Buckingham (26), Nicole Fransson (17), Kianna Wiens (8)
VIC: Ashlyn Day (14), Katie Langdon (13), Aleah Ashlee (11)

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