Caitlin Gooch and Kaitlyn Widsten traded punches for 38 minutes Friday, but it was Gooch who landed the knockout blow.
Gooch had 25 points to lead the Winnipeg Wesmen to a 66-61 victory over the TRU WolfPack in a Canada West women's basketball game at the Tournament Capital Centre. The teams will be back in action tonight, 5 o'clock, at the TCC.
The two guards - Gooch is in her fifth year of eligibility, Widsten her fourth - put on a shooting clinic in an otherwise sloppy game. Gooch went 7-for-9 from three-point land, while Widsten made five of eight three-point tries.
The difference in the head-to-head battle between Gooch and Widsten were the back-to-back threes Gooch made in the last three minutes. It also was the difference in the game.
"They've got a very good point guard (Gooch)," said WolfPack head coach Scott Reeves, whose team slipped to 7-6, "and I said at the start of the game that we had to control her and we obviously didn't.
"Seven-for-nine from the three-point line is pretty good."
The game was the first of 2011 for both teams, who skipped the better part of December for exams and Christmas, and it showed early on, with the teams combining to make only seven field goals in the first quarter.
But Widsten, who ended with 19 points, four assists and four steals, was hot - she made two three-pointers in the first quarter and three more in the second, although the WolfPack trailed 27-25 at the half.
It was Gooch's turn in the second half - she made five threes in the latter 20 minutes, and also ended the game with six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
"The girls found me when I was hot," said Gooch, a Winnipeg native. "I kept shooting. When it's like that, you have to keep shooting - you can't stop."
Her biggest shots came after the WolfPack fought back from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
TRU managed to take a 60-54 lead with 3:12 remaining, but Gooch helped bring the Wesmen back. She cut the lead to three with a trey with 2:53 remaining and, after Winnipeg's Stephanie Kleysen made it 60-59, put the Wesmen ahead with another big shot from downtown a minute later.
Gooch wasn't ready to take credit for the turnaround.
"If I didn't shoot that shot, I'm sure another girl on our team would have and would have hit it," said Gooch, whose Wesmen are 9-2. "I just had the ball at that time.
"It went our way tonight, but tomorrow it could go their way - they played really well."
The WolfPack came out of the game feeling frustrated at a missed opportunity.
TRU picked up its game in the final two quarters, but had far too many turnovers (24) and allowed too many offensive rebounds (11) to beat a solid team like Winnipeg.
Reeves said the differences in the game were "Gooch getting 25 and us not rebounding and turning it over too much."
"They got 11 offensive rebounds," Reeves added. "In a five-point game, that can amount to a helluva lot of points."
Chas Kok set a school record and the TRU WolfPack men's basketball team won for the second time this Canada West season Friday, 88-87 over the Winnipeg Wesmen at the Tournament Capital Centre.
Kok had 38 points - one more than the previous TRU single-game record, set by Sean Garvey last season - including the tying and go-ahead free throws in the final 10 seconds. Kok also had nine rebounds.
TRU's Greg Stewart had 21 points and 16 rebounds, and Brett Parker had 11 points.
Nick Lother led the Wesmen with 27 points, Nolin Goodling scored 17 and Kelvin Smith added 11.
A rematch is scheduled for today, 7 p.m., at the TCC. TRU is 2-11; Winnipeg is 1-10.
The WolfPack hockey team lost 2-1 to Trinity Western in Langley on Friday, only the second time this season TRU has lost.
Andrew Fisher scored for the WolfPack, and Riley Wall made 33 saves in the loss.
The WolfPack (9-2-0) returns to action Jan. 16 against Fraser Valley in Abbotsford.
© Kamloops Daily News