Cascade women off to the Final Four

The University of the Fraser Valley women's basketball team beat the Saskatchewan Huskies to earn a spot in the Canada West Final Four.

Dan Kinvig,

Black Press


The University of the Fraser Valley women’s hoopsters were playing for their playoff lives on Saturday evening, but you never would have known it based on their demeanour at their morning shoot-around.

“They kind of surprise me sometimes, how confident they are,” Cascades coach Al Tuchscherer said. “They come in to shoot this morning, and they’re relaxed and joking around. Inside of me, I’m just ready to explode, and they’re just goofing around. I’m like, ‘Are you guys kidding me right now?’

“But they were in a totally good headspace. I didn’t want them uptight.”

The Cascades proved to be cool in the clutch, as they punched their ticket to the Canada West Final Four with a 73-58 victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies in a game which was far closer than the final score indicated.

UFV got off to a terrific start, building a 24-7 lead after the first quarter, but the Huskies simply wouldn’t quit. They battled their way back to within 12 at halftime, then opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to five.

The Cascades made a run of their own bridging the third and fourth quarters to build the lead back up to 14 points – Celeste Dyck came up with a pair of steals and went 4-for-4 from the foul line, and Alexa McCarthy knocked down a three-pointer.

But once again, the Huskies clawed their way back, drawing to within 60-58 after Kiera Lyons swished a pair of free throws with 2:14 left.

But UFV’s Aieisha Luyken and Nicole Wierks took over the game at that point.

On the ensuing possession, Luyken drove the left baseline and hit a tough layup over Dalyce Emmerson, Saskatchewan’s phenomenal 6’3″ centre. Then, at the other end of the floor, she hustled over to block what looked to be an easy layup by Lyons after she’d beaten her defender on the perimeter.

The Cascades took the ball the other way, and Wierks scored on a hook shot – the first of six points in a row for the fourth-year forward.

By the time it was all said and done, UFV had fashioned a 13-0 run to end the game.

“Those are just big-time plays by big-time players,” Tuchscherer said of Luyken and Wierks’s performances in the clutch.

“We faced a lot of adversity. We had a lot of kids fouling out of the game, and, I thought, some questionable calls down the stretch. You’ve got to give credit to our kids – they’re resilient, and they stepped up.”

The Cascades had shot the ball poorly in each of the first two games of the series – they made just 31.4 per cent of their attempts from the field Thursday’s 65-58 victory, and 32.1 per cent in Friday’s 67-56 loss.

They managed to boost their shooting percentage to 41.3 on Saturday, an improvement Tuchscherer attributed to an attacking mindset.

We needed to be a little more aggressive offensively tonight – we found we were really perimeter-oriented (the first two games),” he said. “A lot of our attacks were to the corners, and we wanted to attack the middle more tonight. I thought that was pretty successful for us.”

Chilliwack’s Kayli Sartori was UFV’s top scorer, notching 19 points and hitting 3-of-4 attempts from beyond the arc. Sarah Wierks (13 points) and Luyken (10) also scored in double figures, while Nicole Wierks notched nine points and 10 rebounds.

Emmerson was exceptional for the Huskies – she notched a team-high 18 points to go with six rebounds and three blocks, and was the major reason that both Sarah Wierks and her primary backup, Katie Brink, fouled out.

“They don’t quit – they’ve got a lot of pride,” Tuchscherer said of Saskatchewan. “It’s a team that we’ve always admired and respected, and that’s the reason why. They do it the right way.”

The University of Calgary will play host to the Final Four next weekend, and the Cascades will face the Regina Cougars in the semifinals with a guaranteed berth to nationals on the line.

Just Posted

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Doses prepared at pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in the M3N postal code, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)
4 vaccine clinics coming to Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Fraser Health made clinics ‘low-barrier’ meaning pre-registration not required

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctors urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Most Read