On Wednesday, November 22, the Simon Fraser women’s basketball team took on the San Francisco-based Academy of Art University (Art U) in the West Gym at Burnaby campus. Art U came into Vancouver late last night due to issues at the border, where two of their players were not allowed to enter the country. The Clan took advantage of the situation, defeating their opponents 88–49 while breaking the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) record for threes in a game with 18.
While the final score suggests otherwise, the game was quite competitive in the first quarter. After Nicole Vander Helm got SFU’s first two baskets of the game, Tia Tsang came off of the bench to hit three three-pointers before the end of the quarter. The Clan would end the quarter with a 27–22 lead over the visitors, in a quarter where the main thing separating the two teams was SFU’s ability to hit shots.
In the second quarter, Simon Fraser blew the game wide open, getting off to a 14–0 run to start the quarter. “One of the things we said was we wanted to keep a good pace on offence and move the ball a lot [. . .] I thought they tired out,” said head coach Bruce Langford after the game. The Clan would end the first half with a commanding 49–30 lead.
At this point, SFU had gone 10–18 from behind the arc, with Sophie Swant and Tsang leading the team with three threes each. Swant and Vander Helm led the game with 16 and 14 points, respectively, while point guard Tayler Drynan lead the game with six assists.
It wasn’t until the game was far out of reach that the Clan would break the record. Freshman Jessica Jones was the one to do it, hitting her second three of the game with 2:54 to go in the third quarter. With the three, SFU now holds the GNAC women’s single game record for most threes in a game with 18. However, anybody that knows coach Langford should not be surprised.
“Threes have been my philosophy since I was in high school. When they [introduced the three-point line], we used to have a T-shirt for our team that said, ‘Why would you go up by two when the rules let you do it by three?’ and so we try to recruit kids that can shoot the three [. . .] It’s part of our game, no matter what,” said Langford after the game.
Tsang led the game with six threes, while Drynan had four, Swant and Vander Helm had three, and Jones had two.
The Clan would go on to win 88–49, the type of dominant win that should help the team as it prepares for conference play. That being said, the low roster numbers — only seven players were available for this game — is an ongoing issue.
“We’ve really tried to manage our practice time and our rest time because we only have a few bodies. We haven’t practiced hard, we’ve gone through some stuff, but we’re not even competing three on three, four on four, five on five–we couldn’t go five on five [due to the roster numbers].”
The three-slinging Clan will open GNAC play against Western Washington on Tuesday, November 28 in Bellingham. Western Washington finished just above Simon Fraser with a 18–2 conference record last season.