BURNABY MOUNTAIN — News flash: Ellen Kett didn’t play the whole 40 minutes on Thursday for the Simon Fraser Clan, in fact she was actually afforded 10 minutes of rest.
News flash: Ellen Kett takes just nine shots from the field, but scores a career-30 points as SFU (11-2) beats Idaho’s Northwest Nazarene Crusaders (6-7) by a 99-90 count at the West Gym.
The Clan’s heart-and-soul point guard, who came into the contest averaging 34 minutes-per-game this season, didn’t exactly take a holiday, but afterwards head coach Bruce Langford did address the difficulties in trying to keep his starting point guard fresh with four of the team’s remaining seven conference games on the road.
Kett went 7-of-9 from the field, including 4-of-5 from distance, and a perfect 12-of-12 from the charity stripe with seven assists and just one turnover in what was virtually a perfect offensive evening.
So how does Langford feel he’s managing Kett’s minutes?
“Not well,” he deadpanned. “We’re trying to get her time down, but to be honest, we have a veteran point guard and we have a rookie point guard (Tayler Drynan) and they are not equal yet. But when (Drynan) is in her fourth year, she will be equal to what Kett is now.”
Pass first, shoot second is the mentality of the point guard, and Kett wasn’t wavering from that stance after the game.
“I am not really one to like scoring points,” said Kett, who nonetheless knows she carries as much offensive responsibility as any player on the team. “If I ever look at the stat sheet, I look at the assists column. But I didn’t have very good shooting games the last couple of games, so Langford rested me a few times in practice this week. I think a bit of rest was good for me.”
Nonetheless, the Crusaders earned the respect of the entire Clan team for their effort, which was best described as an unyielding brand of physicality.
SFU held NNU to two points over the first half of the opening quarter, led by as many as nine before the break before eventually pushing it out to 18 with just over four minutes remaining.
But the Crusaders never faded for long, and if not for a 36-point fourth quarter by SFU, an upset may have been brewing.
“They might not have a lot of height but they make up for it in their strength and toughness, especially down low,” said SFU’s power guard-forward Sophie Swant. “They are a challenge and we knew it was going to be like this.”
But what the Crusaders ultimately couldn’t stop was a 21-7 second half run in which Kett nailed a pair of critical treys, giving SFU just enough separation to win.
Meg Wilson scored 20 points in the win, while Elisa Homer and Ozi Nwabuko had 12 each. The Clan shot 51 per cent from the field.
The Crusaders, who had three players foul out of the proceedings, got 21 points from guard Ellie Logan and 17 from forward Danielle Jardine.
The Clan is back in action Saturday when it hosts Central Washington in a 5 p.m. start.