This could have easily been a so-called “trap” game for SFU women’s basketball. After a testing and hard fought victory against Seattle Pacific, it would have been easy to overlook a Saint Martin’s team that was last in the conference.
“We said that could happen,” said head coach Bruce Langford on whether he was worried his team would take for granted a win against the Saints. “We said that we have to be really guarded and careful.
“Our habits are what we’re worrying about, that our habit could carry over from one game to the next. If we have any slippage in habits from one quarter to the next, why wouldn’t that slip to the next game? That’s what we are fighting against, so [we said] let’s be sharp, be focused, and be smart.”
What ended up happening was perhaps the team’s most dominant performance of the season. They never looked troubled against the visiting Saint Martin’s Saints, winning 92–61. It was the team’s biggest margin of victory this season, and biggest since a 84–54 victory against the same team last season on the road.
“I thought we came out slow for the first couple of minutes, but then we got together in that quarter and came together a little bit better,” said Langford afterwards. “We had a lot of good people mak[ing] some good decisions and executing really well.”
After the visitors jumped out to a quick 4–0 lead, SFU never really looked back. They went on a 7–0 run afterwards, opening up the lead to 21 by the end of the half.
In the second half, it was more of the same. With the lead up to 39 at one point, it gave players who, in a tight contest wouldn’t be getting much playing time, an opportunity to showcase themselves. Samantha Beauchamp was one of those recipients, recording a season high 11 points in 20 minutes of action.
SFU’s most impressive player on the night though was senior Meg Wilson. The senior from London, Ontario finished with team highs in points with 21 and minutes played with 35. She also went three for four from beyond the arc, and had a couple of impressive coast-to-coast buckets off steals.
“Today she hit some threes for sure, she was on fire there for a while,” said Langford. “She’s dangerous because she can go by people and she can score inside really nicely; she’s got really good finish inside. And she gets a lot of easy baskets off of good steals that allow her to go coast-to-coast.”
One thing that could have troubled SFU in this one was their three-point shooting. Saint Martin’s was tied for the best three-point defence in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) coming into tonight’s game, allowing just 0.275 of opponent’s attempts. However, they weren’t able to contain the Clan, as SFU went 14 for 29 to finish with a 48.3 shooting percentage.
“I think we’ve been shooting the ball better and better,” said Langford on the team’s fortunes from downtown. “But I think that we have some size inside there that can score and therefore they have to pay attention to that, which opens up some stuff, and we got some penetration that opened up some stuff. And then we hit shot early which gives everybody motivation.”
NEXT GAME: Perhaps the biggest game of the season is next for SFU, as they take on Western Washington in a rare Tuesday night contest. With both teams coming in with 7–1 conference records, the winner will get sole possession of second place in the GNAC.
“It’s a huge game for both of us,” said Langford. “[Western Washington] are big and physical, and they’re older than we are, they’re more mature than we are. They’re well-coached and they’re a good team. They’ve got the leading scorer in the country. It’s going to be [a] challenge.”
Indeed if SFU is to be successful, they’re going to have to find a way to shut down Taylor Peacocke — which no one so far this season has seemed to be able to do. She’s averaging 22.4 points per game, and is especially dangerous from three-point range. Last season, she put 24 and 18 points in the two games against the Clan, both of which were SFU losses. It will likely come down to how much SFU can contain her on the night because she will get her points.