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Trinity Western looking to continue historic season against University of Alberta

A win against MacEwan University back on February 3rd marked a defining moment in the women’s basketball program at Trinity Western.

That 68-54 victory gave them their 16th win of the season, a new Trinity Western record. Head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul told Trinity Western Athletics that it was a “defining moment in our program’s history.”

Scott Stewart/Trinity Western Athletics

But that’s in the past and Trinity Western could have a challenge ahead of them in the University of Alberta, as the Pandas are one of the few teams they lost to this season. In a two game road trip to Edmonton earlier this season Trinity Western went 1-1, winning 63-62 and losing 68-57. The latter was in fact one of only four the Spartans suffered in conference play.

“Having played Alberta early in the season, one major key to victory for us is to remember all the lessons we’ve learnt from every game we’ve played since that first weekend of league” said Jean-Paul to BC Sports Hub. “They are a very good and organized team, well-coached with players that all have the ability to have great games. We need to contain their runs that typically start from a big three or a great transition attack and then be ready to defend their key performers.”

One of those key performers is likely to be Elle Hendershot. She is fourth in all of U Sports women’s basketball with a 53.4% field goal percentage, and 3rd in rebounds averaging 12.3 per game. In their one loss against Alberta, Hendershot put up 16 points and 15 rebounds for her 12th career double double.

Needless to say, the Spartans will have to find a way to limit her effectiveness if they want to move on.

“[She] does so much for their team – she is their best rebounder and creator, so it’s really about reducing the impact she makes when she has the ball in her hands” Jean-Paul said. “Other players don’t try to take over the game for the most part other than Emma Kary, so if we handle her ability to set up their off-ball scoring looks and minimize her second chance points, that should help with the game overall.”

Scott Stewart/Trinity Western Athletics

Trinity Western will take comfort however that they will be the home team for all three possible games —both games they played against Alberta were on the road, and they have just lost one game all season in the friendly confines of the Langley Event Centre.

Despite this, coach Jean-Paul knows her team needs to be up for the intensity of playoff basketball.

“Last year we went into Regina and learnt firsthand how the competitive nature of each round increases” she said. “We need to acknowledge the nerves, get excited about the opportunity, and be committed to staying with what we’ve done all season long – play tough, play uptempo, and play as a team.”

The Spartans first game will be this Thursday. Tip-off will be 7:00 pm at the Langley Events Centre.

Scott Stewart/Trinity Western Athletics

Written By: Nick Bondi

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