Jorri Duxbury made the play of the game for the TRU WolfPack women's basketball team Friday, and she did it by throwing the ball away.
With the outcome of last night's Canada West contest sealed - the WolfPack beat the Trinity Western Spartans 72-60 - Duxbury hucked the ball out of bounds. In any ordinary game, it would have had head coach Scott Reeves ripping out his hair.
But Friday's game was the last regular-season home contest for graduating seniors Jen Ju, Tracy Kocs and Diane Schuetze. All three were on the floor when Duxbury intentionally threw the ball away, and all three received a standing ovation as they were subbed out with 13.3 seconds remaining.
"I felt . . . honestly, quite sad," Ju said following an on-court ceremony featuring speeches from assistant coach Chuck Ferguson. "Four years here, I love it, and I've gotten used to playing here. I'm going to miss it."
Of all the WolfPack's graduating classes, none had a greater impact than this one did. Everything TRU has accomplished came in large part due to the work of the trio.
Schuetze and Kocs joined TRU as rookies before the 2008-09 season, while Ju transferred in 2009-10 after spending a season at Santa Barbara City College. The WolfPack wasn't a playoff contender then, but made the postseason in 2012 and already has clinched a spot this season.
"Chuck had a great speech, and this group truly did usher us into the CIS," Reeves said. "Our program has really flourished around them. What I told them before the game was, 'Not only did you make the program, but the program also made you.' "
Schuetze, a 6-foot-3 centre from Vernon, has turned into a dominant force in Canada West, and is second in points (18.8) and first in rebounds (12.3) per game. Kocs, a 5-foot-10 forward out of Port Moody, has become a key part of the offence, and averages 9.1 points and 7.1 rebounds.
Ju, a 5-foot-5 guard out of Vancouver, is fifth in the conference in scoring (17.4) and first in energy. The three players are first (Schuetze), second (Ju) and fourth (Kocs) in career Canada West scoring for the WolfPack.
If the three seniors liked the reception they got Friday, it could provide inspiration for the remainder of the season. TRU (14-5) has three road games remaining - two against the Fraser Valley Cascades and one with the UBC-Okanagan Heat - but still can clinch a home playoff date with a strong finish.
"To get to play again in this atmosphere, this environment, it would be unbelievable," Ju said. "We hope everything works out mathematically."
The WolfPack got off to a slow start Friday, and trailed by as many as 10 points in the second quarter. But TRU chipped away late in the first half, and took over in the second half.
The first-half turnaround came on a 12-1 run in which Ju had eight points.
"It's pretty tough to try to guard her one-on-one," Reeves said. "If you're not going to run somebody at her and try to trap her early, she's just too quick."
Schuetze had 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Ju scored 20 points. Taiysa Worsfold added 16 points, and Duxbury had nine points and nine rebounds.
Holly Strom, who leads the conference in scoring (18.9), had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Spartans, and Janelle Traber scored 15. Emily Knauff also scored 13 points in the loss.
here will be no playoffs for the WolfPack men's basketball team, which lost 83-75 to the Spartans at the TCC.
TRU (6-13) cannot catch Trinity Western (9-9) for the last playoff spot. The WolfPack is off to Abbotsford to play the Cascades on Friday and Feb. 9.
Senior guard Kevin Pribilsky, in his last home game, had 18 points, with Troy Grant scoring 16, Brett Rouault 11 and Will Ondrik 10. Blaz Bozinovic had 10 rebounds and eight points. Tristan Smith had 18 points for the Spartans.
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