WBB: Trinity Western defeats Victoria in play-in game; will face Regina in Saturday quarter-final

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The Trinity Western Spartans pulled away from Victoria for an 83-66 victory on Friday night in a neutral-site Canada West play-in game hosted by the University of Regina at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.

Nicole Franssen led the way with 21 points for Trinity Western, who will now prepare for a conference quarter-final game against No. 2-seeded Regina on Saturday night. Franssen added a game-high 11 rebounds for a double-double while Hailey Van Roekel hit 5 three-pointers and finished with 20 points.

“We knew this was going to be a battle with a provincial rival and a team we’ve played multiple times already this season,” Spartans head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul said. “(Van Roekel) hit some big shots tonight, but the reason why she can hit those shots is because we’ve got so many players that are doing what they do. It’s a group effort and it’s really special to see them collectively as a group celebrate everything that’s going on.”

TWU’s Jayden Gill chipped in with 17 points, led all players with 6 assists, and tied for the game high with 4 steals.

The loss overshadowed a brilliant performance by Victoria’s Ashlyn Day, who hit 5 of the Vikes’ 6 three-pointers and poured in a game-high 28 points. Abigail Becker added 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to collect a double-double.

Trinity Western had a 24-20 lead after the first quarter and took a 43-32 advantage into halftime, but pulled away for good after the break. The Spartans outscored Victoria 27-12 in the third quarter and scored the final eight points of the period to take a commanding 26-point advantage into the fourth.

Victoria scored 20 of the game’s final 28 points after a Jolene Vlieg layup gave Trinity Western a 29-point lead, its largest lead of the game, but it was too late to mount a serious challenge as the Spartans coasted to victory down the stretch.

Trinity Western will now rest up for Saturday’s encounter with Regina. It will mark the first time the two teams have matched up with each other this season.

“Regina is a tough team and obviously Jade Belmore is a very special basketball player,” said Jean-Paul as she looked ahead to Saturday’s game. “They’re a group that plays really hard and plays well together as a team. It’ll be a great battle, hopefully we’ve learned a few things from today’s game and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

Tip-off for Saturday’s quarterfinal is set for 7:00 p.m.

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