Griffins unable to recover from Spartans' timely hot shooting in 84-52 loss to close first semester

Darian Mahmi had 12 points for the Griffins in an 84-52 loss to Trinity Western on Saturday (Robert Antoniuk photo).
Darian Mahmi had 12 points for the Griffins in an 84-52 loss to Trinity Western on Saturday (Robert Antoniuk photo).

Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics

-With files from TWU Athletics

LANGLEY, B.C. – Never fully recovering from the sting of being bit by three three-pointers in the final minute of the first half, the MacEwan Griffins suffered an 84-52 loss to the Trinity Western Spartans in Canada West women's basketball action on Saturday night.

Trailing by only four and keeping it close with a rigorous defensive effort, the Griffins looked to be going into the half with some positive vibes until TWU back-to-back treys from Lana Shypit and Kianna Wiens before Shypit dropped another one at the buzzer. Suddenly a 35-31 game was 44-31 for the Spartans.

"It swung momentum in their favour that we didn't recover from," explained MacEwan head coach Katherine Adams. "It was a four-point game with about a minute to go in the first half and then they hit three threes all at the buzzer to make it a 13-point game at half. I think that just took the wind out of our sails."

It wasn't the only killer in the game. Multiple times saw the Griffins defend the Spartans tough only to see the home side settle for a less-than-ideal shot to beat the 24-second clock buzzer and hit it.

"I thought we came out and defended tough, forced them into some really tough shots, particularly in the first half," said Adams. "They moved the ball well and worked to get open shots and hit some real daggers at the end of the shot clocks that really killed us."

With the result, the Griffins fall to 2-6 while TWU improves to 3-5 at the semester break.

"It's so hard to get two games in one weekend and it's even harder to have the same type of game twice," said TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul whose team also beat the Griffins 82-52 on Friday.

"I thought that we had different people hit some big shots tonight, which was great to see six or seven different scorers find success over the span of the weekend. That bodes well for going into the second semester."

Wiens had a game-high 21 points for the Spartans, while Shypit bucketed 18, including five three-pointers. Nicole Fransson added 12 points and five rebounds for the Spartans, who shot 52.5 per cent in the contest.

The Griffins' offence found its stride, too, particularly in a hot second quarter where they shot 60 per cent, finishing with 41.2 per cent success. Mackenzie Farmer led the way with 13 points, while Darian Mahmi had 12. Ellie McCarthy had a game-high six rebounds. 

So, the Griffins are forced back to the film room and the practice court as they take lessons learned into preparation for the second half of the season, which will begin at home against Manitoba on Jan. 3-4.

"There's lot you can learn," said Adams. "You can defend tough for 23 seconds and it doesn't matter if you don't defend tough for the last second.

"Credit to them, they moved the ball to generate those open shots, but you have to play for a full shot clock, you have to play for a full quarter, minute, possession – whatever it is, we just have to keep pressing and be relentless to win the ball and defend tough."