Nathan Crosby, Sports Editor Ω
A wrestling tournament moved the basketball teams to the old TRU gym last weekend, and the women’s team adapted despite losing twice to the number-three-ranked UBC Thunderbirds.
“It’s a tough loss. They are the number-three-ranked team in the country,” WolfPack guard Jen Ju said.
The first game on Jan. 13 saw a fired up TRU team score early and aggressively.
Coming off back-to-back wins over Winnipeg and Manitoba, TRU’s energy was ground down trying to keep up with the highly-touted Thunderbirds.
The ‘Pack shooters weren’t getting the lucky bounces, and finished the night shooting 33 per cent from the field, losing 74-58. WolfPack forward Diane Schuetze finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds and added to her resume of Canada West MVP.
Redemption, though, comes in many forms.
The women came out the next night and put UBC on the ropes only to come up short in a 59-55 thrilling loss on Jan. 14.
The ‘Pack played their best ball in the third and fourth quarter of the second game, outscoring the T-Birds 34-33 to tie the game at 55 with under a minute to play.
Unfortunately, WolfPack guard Kaitlyn Widsten, who played one of her best games of the year, missed a three pointer that forced TRU to intentionally foul UBC guard Kristen Hughes.
“We had faith when Kate took that last shot and everyone thought it was going in, but you know what — that’s tough luck,” Ju said.
Hughes went to the free throw line up 57-55 and iced the game by going two for two to make it a two possession ball game that the ‘Pack had 10 seconds to convert on.
A miracle wasn’t in the cards.
“I’m pretty confident we didn’t think for a moment we were going to lose that game,” Ju said.
“We got more than enough shots but they didn’t go in. If were to convert on those, we would have, may have got the W.”
Kaitlyn Widsten would finish with 15 points and five rebounds and only one personal foul.
She was named player of the game.
Her one assist came on a hard-working effort as she wrestled the ball out of two Thunderbird player’s hands on the ground. She then quickly passed it off to Diane Schuetze who finished the play. It jolted TRU’s offence and got the team back in the game.
Holding the high-flying Thunderbird offence to 59 points wasn’t easy, but the play of veteran forwards Michelle Dimond and Kailey Colonna made it irritating for the T-Birds to score points. Colonna would finish with a team-high six rebounds and two blocks while Dimond finished with three rebounds and two steals.
“I thought we executed our defence really well, we had a lot of good defensive possessions, but our shots didn’t go in this weekend but they will next weekend,” Jen Ju said.
The two losses move the WolfPack to a 5-7 record that ties them with Victoria.
Trinity Western sits ahead of the two teams for the final playoff spot. The ‘Pack will hit the road to Alberta, Saskatchewan and a showdown in Langley with the Spartans to see if they are for real and destined for the playoffs.