A battle lost to the Trinity Western University Spartans has put the survival of the U of M Bisons women’s basketball team’s playoff hopes in doubt. The herd lost both games in a weekend sweep by the Spartans, falling to 6-10 on the year.
The Bisons dropped game one against the Spartans 80-66 at Investors Group Athletic Centre Friday.
Trinity Western forward Tessa Ratzlaff put up a double-double — 21 points and 11 rebounds — while Nicole Fransson was strong on the glass with 15 rebounds and 16 points for the visitors. Addison Martin paced the Bisons with 15 points in the game.
Both teams shot the ball well in the opening frame. The Spartans went 10 for 18 from the field, while the Bisons converted three of five three-point attempts.
Neither team was able to string together a run, but Trinity Western held a slim 22-19 lead heading into the second quarter.
Manitoba played a strong second quarter, putting together a 13-3 scoring run early in the frame to take a 34-30 lead.
Taylor Randall sparked Manitoba with seven points in second and the Bisons led 40-36 at halftime.
The Spartans made some halftime adjustments and held Manitoba to nine points in the third quarter. Trinity Western opened the third with a 14-0 run to build a 50-40 lead.
From there, Trinity Western had all the momentum and led 65-49 entering the final quarter.
The Spartans played conservatively in the fourth quarter and the two teams exchanged looks throughout the frame.
Manitoba could not get anything going and the Spartans ran away with an 80-66 victory.
Game two was marginally better for Manitoba, as the club fell 68-60 to the Spartans Saturday.
Claire Harvey led Manitoba with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Martin put up another 13 points for the herd. Ratzlaff posted another double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds for Trinity Western in the win.
“This was a team that was in final four last year,” said Harvey.
“I think we can’t be too disappointed with how we played, because I think we did a pretty good job considering how consistent they are.”
The first quarter was a defensive battle as the two teams tested each other en route to a 15-15 score.
Ratzlaff led the visitors with six points, while Emma Thompson paced the herd with five points.
The teams exchanged looks in the second quarter until Spartans guard Kianna Wiens put together a 10-0 run on her own to put her team up 37-29. Wiens was a monster with a quarter-high 10 points.
Martin ended the run with a free-throw, but the Spartans led 37-30 at the halftime break.
Ratzlaff had a big third quarter for the visitors and scored 13 points for her team. Manitoba kept the game close, but the Spartans ended the frame with an 8-0 scoring run to put them up by 54-40 entering the final quarter of play.
Manitoba was unable to get any momentum in the fourth quarter until it was already too late.
With just a minute and a half left in the match, the Bisons showed some fight and went on a 7-0 scoring run. The visitors held on for a 68-60 win and series sweep.
With the losses, Manitoba falls to 6-10 in the Canada West standings. With four games left, the Bisons are holding on to the final playoff spot.
“These last four games are huge,” said Harvey.
“We are right at the line there of making playoffs and not, so if we get two good wins we’ll be in playoffs […] if we can get more than two wins, I think that would be huge for us.”
The Bisons will be back in action Jan. 25 and 26 when they take on the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack. Tip-off for both games is 7 p.m. CST.