Tanner Michalenko, Saskatchewan Sports Information Student Assistant
SASKATOON – Consecutive defensive stops in the fourth quarter lifted the No. 7 ranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies over the No. 9 Trinity Western University Spartans 75-62 Thursday night on Ron & Jane Graham Court at the PAC in Game 1 of a best-of-three Canada West semifinal series.
It was a slow start for Saskatchewan, as they were outscored 19-11 in the opening quarter - the lone quarter in which the Spartans outscored the Huskies. Saskatchewan turned the game around in the second, outscoring Trinity Western 23-14 to hold a 34-31 lead at the halftime break. They expanded the lead to 53-49 after the third quarter before defence stood tall in the fourth. The Huskies did not allow a Spartan basket for well over five minutes into the final frame. Huskies outscored the Spartans 22-13 in the fourth.
Canada West First Team All-Star Sabine Dukate finished with a game-high 23 points, three rebounds and three assists. Second team all-star Summer Masikewich added 16 points and four rebounds. Point guard Libby Epoch recorded seven assists and three steals.
Third-year Sarah Buckingham led the Spartans with 15 points. Fourth-year Jessie Brown added another 13 points and two rebounds. The Huskies kept Spartans' all-stars in check throughout the contest. First team all-star Tessa Ratzlaff scored nine points, while third team all-star Kayla Gordon tallied eight.
The Huskies scored 16 points from 15 Trinity Western turnovers, while The Spartans scored eight on seven turnovers. The Huskies also recorded 11 second-chance points, while Trinity Western failed to record a second-chance basket.
Saskatchewan finished 31-of-70 from the field, while the Spartans shot 24-of-51. The Huskies outrebounded the Spartans 32-23.
Tipoff for Game 2 is at 7 p.m. Friday night, while Game 3, if needed, will be played Saturday at 7 p.m.