Wednesday April 23, 2014

Zimmerman keys another WolfPack victory

Hugo Yuen

Ta'Quan Zimmerman of the TRU WolfPack tries to work the ball inside against the Mount Royal Cougars at the TCC on Saturday.

With his basket in the final minute of Saturday's basketball game, Brett Parker of the TRU WolfPack put his team into triple-digits for the first time since Nov. 26, 2011.

And while it was Parker's basket that got the WolfPack to the century mark, Ta'Quan (Tootie) Zimmerman was again the story for much of the WolfPack's 100-73 victory over the Mount Royal Cougars (5-5) at the Tournament Capital Centre. Zimmerman was tied with Brett Rouault for the scoring lead until the fourth quarter, when Rouault got to 19 points with Zimmerman on the bench. Zimmerman finished the game shooting 66.6 per cent for 17 points and chipping in five assists and six rebounds - all that in just a minute more than two quarters.

The WolfPack has come to expect solid performances from the 6-foot-2 guard from Waterbury, Conn. With the first ten games of the season in the books and the WolfPack (6-4) in second place in Canada West's Pacific Division, Zimmerman has often been the key. He's tied for third in league scoring, averaging 19.1 points per game, and also leads the team in field goals per game (6.4), three-point field goals per game (2.5) and free throws made per game (3.8). Twice this season he has scored more than 30 points (33 at home to Saskatchewan on Nov. 1, 31 at home to Alberta on Nov. 2) and has had 20 or more three other times.

"I think I had a good first half," Zimmerman said Saturday. "But I think I need to step it up because in the second half everybody's coming at everybody. This is a nice break to get in the gym, work on my game and get better."

Zimmerman, 21, is in his third season of eligibility, after playing his first two seasons for Connecticut's Monroe Community College (2012-13) and Long Island University (2011-12), a Division I NCAA team based in Brooklyn.

The original plan was for him to attend Cape Breton University in Sydney, N.S., this season, but when that didn't work out, WolfPack assistant coach Joe Enevoldson reached out to him. Zimmerman has had an immediate impact, despite having to transition to the Canadian game.

"The game is much faster, I should say, as far as more possessions, because they play the FIBA rules out here," Zimmerman said. "With the FIBA rules out here and the 24-second shot clock, the game is moving at a much faster pace, you really don't have time, you've got to be in shape to go up and down for 40 minutes."

Zimmerman said he plans to play out his eligibility (he has two seasons after this) with the WolfPack and hopes to lead the team to nationals. Personally, he hopes to be a Canada West all-star and a player of the year. Though he's off to a fine start in his young career in Kamloops, he knows there's still room for improvement.

"I don't really take this as a break," he said, of the December lull in the WolfPack's schedule. The team will be off until Dec 17, when it travels to Bellingham to play the Western Washington Vikings. The WolfPack will then travel to San Diego after Christmas for a pair of games and will return to Canada West play Jan. 9, against the host Regina Cougars. "I'm going to be in the gym every day, practising my craft, getting better at what I do.

"(I want to) see if I can accomplish my dream of getting a pro contract somewhere," Zimmerman added. "I just want to keep getting better and doing what I have to do to see that I complete those goals."

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ead coach Scott Reeves said the WolfPack women's basketball team needs the break following its 68-51 victory over Mount Royal on Saturday. He said the team needs to focus on academics and recover from injuries.

Jorri Duxbury finished Saturday with 12 points and 15 rebounds and Taiysa Worsfold had 21 points. Sarah Malate added 14.

TRU improved to 6-4 and with two weekend victories and enters the break in fourth place in the Canada West's Pacific Division.

"I think any time you're over .500, you're in the hunt," Reeves said. "We're not out of hosting (a playoff game), it's a bit tough, but we're not out of it."

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ith victories in five of its last six games, the WolfPack men's volleyball team is tied for third.

TRU improved to 8-4 with a three-set (25-22, 25-23, 26-24) victory over the host Cougars in Calgary on Saturday. Brad Gunter led TRU with 16 kills and nine digs.

The WolfPack will head to Hawaii after Christmas to play a series of exhibition matches and will return to Canada West play Jan. 10, at home to the Brandon Bobcats.

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he WolfPack women's volleyball team fell in straight sets (25-22, 25-16, 25-15) to the Mount Royal Cougars on Saturday.

Brianne Rauch led the team with 10 kills. Katie Woo had 30 assists.

The WolfPack will be back Jan. 10, when the Bobcats visit.

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ith its eighth consecutive victory the WolfPack men's hockey team capped off a perfect month.

TRU defeated the Victoria Vikes 4-2 at Memorial Arena on Friday. Ben Bula, Duncan Schulz and Tyler Berkholtz, with two, had the goals. Chris Solecki picked up the victory in net.

The WolfPack will return to the ice Jan. 11, against host Simon Fraser in Burnaby.

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