Her nickname is 'Q' but TRU WolfPack guard Jenna Quinton served as more of a 'Cue' on Saturday night.
Quinton brought the energy in her first Canada West women's basketball start as the WolfPack defeated the UBC-Okanagan Heat 91-54 at the Tournament Capital Centre. TRU (8-3) moves into second in Canada West's Pacific Division, while UBC-O slipped to 4-7, and fifth.
Quinton, a freshman out of Calgary, had been a consistent contributor off the bench in TRU's first 10 games, so head coach Scott Reeves decided to give the 5-foot-9 guard a start on Saturday.
She didn't disappoint him, scoring eight points and grabbing four rebounds in 21 minutes. Those aren't gaudy numbers, but Quinton's energy set the scene, and cued her teammates to follow suit.
"I just try to go out and do my best," Quinton shrugged. "It made it easy that I was on the starting line with four really, really good girls to help me. I was nervous, so they helped me a lot."
Quinton certainly didn't show any nerves or fear. At one point, she hurled herself into a group of three Heat defenders in a failed attempt to grab a rebound. Even then, she managed to run back into the play and join the defence.
"She's really had a good season so far and a good three games down in Phoenix (after Christmas)," Reeves said, "so it was nice to get her in."
Quinton ended with four steals, all in the first half, as the WolfPack picked the Heat's pocket 20 times.
"We wanted to put more pressure on the ball," Reeves said, "and have good help-sides, so if they ever tried to drive or penetrate, we would have people in the gaps. A lot of turnovers came from that."
Jorri Duxbury, who leads the conference in steals (3.5 per game) had six more on Saturday, and Tracy Kocs and Taiysa Worsfold each had three.
"Everyone was talking out there," Quinton said. "It was on-ball defence, like we work on in practice. It's really paying off."
It was a key part of a solid defensive showing for the WolfPack, which is fourth in the conference at 59.7 points against per game. TRU did allow 20 points in the third quarter, likely the only thing about which Reeves could have been displeased.
"Our defence was OK - we held them to 12 and 13 points in the first two quarters," he said. "We let them have a 20-point quarter in the third, which wasn't what we wanted."
Diane Schuetze, as is often the case, was unstoppable, scoring 28 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking four shots. She even made a three-pointer with 4:17 remaining in the first quarter, breaking a 12-12 draw - it was the last time the game was tied.
Jen Ju came off the bench to score 15 points, while Kocs had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Sarah Allison had 12 points to lead UBC-O, which got 10 each from Emily Kanester and Madison Kaneda.
TRU looks like a lock to clinch its second straight playoff berth, and Reeves likes how everything is coming together.
"There seems to be a focus there," he said. "It seems like we're all on the same page, and if I make some adjustment, they're going to make that adjustment.
"We really are excited about this team, we're excited about this year and what we can do."
The WolfPack will play twice at TRU Gym on the weekend - against the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Friday at 6 p.m., and the Calgary Dinos on Saturday at 5 p.m.
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