By Howard Tsumura
(This story appeared in its original form at athletics.SFU.ca Re-printed here via kind permission of Simon Fraser athletics)
BURNABY — The Simon Fraser women’s basketball team opened its season with three straight losses on B.C. soil during the recent CCA Div. 2 Canadian Tip-Off Classic, inviting questions as to just how long it was going to take for them to find their basketball mojo.
On Tuesday, precisely 16 days later, following an 83-70 win at the West Gym over the visiting Minnesota State Moorhead Dragons, the Red Leafs were celebrating not only a fifth straight non-confernece victory, but the most productive scoring game in the career of its vaunted senior guard/forward Jessica Wisotzki.
“Honestly, I just go out there and be the best I can and whenever I do score a lot, I can’t remember what it is I did because it just happens naturally,” the humble 6-foot-2 guard/forward from Langley explained after pouring home a game-high 36 points in a performance which included surgical 6-of-9 and 10-of-12 outings from beyond the three-point arc and from the free throw line respectively.
SFU head coach Bruce Langford was quick to add that when Wisotzki is able to attack the scoring game from her strengths, she is nothing short of unstoppable.
“She is on fire,” said Langford, now in his 23rd season at the helm of the program. “She is hot. She is confident. She was focussed. I think she shot her shot. She didn’t force much. Maybe one. But she is very skilled and she can shoot the ball when she has her look.”
Minnesota Moorhead coach Karla Nelson, now in her 24th season, was also suitably impressed.
“She was fired up to play us wasn’t she?” smiled Nelson, whose Dragons twice trailed by 15 points, but each time managed to rally back to within two possessions. “She did a nice job coming off some curls and coming down in transition, hitting the three and getting to the free throw line, so that was a tough match-up for us today.”
Yet it wasn’t just a career night for Jessica Wisotzki… it was also one of the best combined nights for both she and her younger sister, junior guard Sophia Wisotzki, who scored 19 points.
All tolled, the Wiz Sisters combined for 55 of the team’s 83 points. The pair shot a combined 17-of-20 from the free throw line, and 10-of-16 from three-point range.
The pair also combined for 56 points on Feb. 11, 2023 at Western Oregon when Jessica scored 33 points and Sophia scored 23 for a total of 56 points
And the capper to all of that?
In a game that got a little tighter than the Red Leafs would have liked — at 69-64 with 4:05 remaining — the final 13-point margin of victory was all about the pair’s shared basketball sisterhood.
That’s just another way to say that only players with the Wisotzki surname combined to score, over the final 4:55, the Red Leafs final 16 points of the game.
Jessica Wisotzki laughed when asked if she knew if 55 points was an all-time high for the pair at SFU.
“I don’t keep track of that stuff,” she smiled. “But it’s a lot, and I think it comes from our chemistry on the court and off the court. I think being able to score with her, share the rock with her is amazing. It’s a pretty special bond.”
It was also a day that Simon Fraser — fresh off a two-game sweep at the Stanislaus State Warrior Classic this past weekend, had everything going off the opening tip.
SFU was at or near 50 per cent from both the field (15-of-31) and from beyond the arc (7-of-14) in the first half. On the game they shot 52 per cent from distance (14-of-27), and 79 per cent from the free throw line (19-of-24).
“We shot incredibly well,” said Langford, “and we had an outstanding defence in the first half. We communicated, executed our plan. We had four major mistakes, and they ended up costing us eight points, and they still ended up with only 29 points. They would have only had 21 points if we had played perfect.”
Post/forward Gemma Cutler scored eight points to go along with 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Grace Killins came off the bench to score 10 points while Makenna Gardner had eight points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Forward Terryn Johnson with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and guard Natalie Jens with 17 eight rebounds and five assists topped the scoring parade for Minnesota State Moorhead.
The Red Leafs play a pair of games in Irvine, CA this weekend. SFU faces Concordia (CA) on Friday (1 p.m.) before tipping off against Point Loma Nazarene on Saturday (12 p.m.).
SFU returns to the West Gym on Nov. 28th to play its final home game of 2023, tipping off at 7 p.m. against the Biola Eagles of Los Angeles.
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