Cascades and Royals in crucial clash

With playoff hopes hanging in the balance, UFV's womens' basketball team tips off the 2015 portion of their schedule.

The University of the Fraser Valley womens’ basketball squad faces the Mount Royal Cougars in a crucial two-game set at Abbotsford’s Envision Athletic Centre, with tip-off times set for 6 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday.

UFV finds itself on the bubble in the race for one of the three Explorers division playoff spots.

They currently hold down third place with a 4-4 record, a game ahead of Mount Royal and the UBC Okanagan Heat (both 3-5). Thus, this weekend’s games are, in the words of Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer, “a pretty big deal.”

“At this time of year, everybody is keyed up and nothing is guaranteed,” he said. “We need to be better than we have been to beat this team.”

Tuchscherer wants to see his squad make strides in terms of team defence, which goes hand-in-hand with work ethic, and he saw positive signs along those lines during the Cascades’ trip to Arizona for exhibition games between Christmas and New Year’s.

Fifth-year centre Sarah Wierks has been a pillar of strength for UFV this season – she leads Canada West in rebounding (13.4 per game) and ranks fourth in scoring (17.5 points per game).

Wierks is also climbing the all-time Canada West rebounding list. The Chilliwack native began the season in ninth place, but has already moved up to sixth with 849 boards collected during her illustrious career. If she stays healthy and maintains her current pace, she’ll wind up second overall by season’s end.

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