By: Brandon Braich, Peak Associate
The SFU Women’s Basketball team continued their winning ways with a pair of home victories this week to extend their winning streak to four. The back-to-back victories also moved the team into a tie for second in the GNAC standings.
After a busy week of settling into a new semester, the Clan got things started with an impressive 71–54 victory over the Seattle Pacific University Falcons (3–11, 1–5 GNAC) on January 9.
The game started slow for both teams, with both offences struggling to score. This led to a tight first quarter in which the teams combined for just 21 points. However, this quickly changed in the second quarter when the Clan stormed out to an 8–0 run, capped by a layup courtesy of Emma Kramer, which pushed the lead to 19–10.
Despite the fact that the Falcons were able to chip away at the Clan lead and pulled to within seven points halfway through the third, SFU went on another run, capped by a three pointer from Jessica Jones at the end of the quarter, to secure a commanding 53–39 lead heading into the fourth.
Though the Clan’s normally potent three point attack struggled throughout (SFU made only five three-pointers on 21 attempts), the team was able to control the game by dominating inside and finished with 40 points in the paint.
The winning effort was led by Tayler Drynan, who finished with 16 points and four rebounds. Overall, it was a well-rounded team effort, with ten players recording points and all 12 active players seeing time on the floor.
After defeating the Falcons, the Clan then turned their attention to the St. Martin’s University Saints (6-7, 1-5 GNAC) on Saturday night, and successfully engineered a late comeback to win 71–67 in front of a home crowd of 232.
The Clan got into trouble early, as a run in the second quarter by the Saints put the visitors up ten heading into the half. The Saints benefitted from an outstanding effort from Claire Dingus, who recorded a double double of 20 points and 15 rebounds. SFU also struggled to muster any offence and shot an anemic 32% from the field in the first half.
The tone for the second half was set early, with Jessica Jones driving and finishing in the paint just seconds into the half. Jones carried the offence early, finished with 21 points and three rebounds, and helped the Clan regain much needed momentum.
In a post-game interview with The Peak, Coach Bruce Langford credited Jones for keeping the game within reach.
“Jones kept us in it with her scoring, and in the second half more people contributed with Drynan and Hart hitting key threes,” Langford said.
After Jones contributed to the momentum shift, the Clan finally began to narrow the lead, which culminated in Drynan hitting one of her biggest shots of the night to give SFU a 61–60 lead. Drynan recorded a game high 24 points on just 17 shots. She then forced a critical turnover on the following possession, which led to a three from Claudia Hart that extended SFU’s lead.
Throughout the game, in contrast to the first win of the week, the Clan were lethal from beyond the arc and finished with 12 three-pointers.
Despite the offensive explosion, Langford felt it was the defence that made the biggest difference in the end.
“Defensively in the second half, we communicated better,” he said. “I think we have been working hard on how to handle different situations defensively so that we can make adjustments to what teams are doing.”
With the back-to-back victories, SFU has now won seven of their last eight games and improves to 10–6 overall and 5–1 in the conference. Langford was pleased with the resilience his team has displayed in recent weeks, especially in the games the team has come from behind to win.
“We have had players step up in games to hit key shots, especially in fourth quarters. I think we have an ‘it’s not over until it’s over’ mentality. ”