Chilliwack native had a huge weekend in CIS womens’ basketball action, but it didn’t save her team from suffering back to back losses.
Wierks and the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades visited the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack, dropping games Friday and Saturday in Kamloops.
Wierks started the weekend with a 27 points and a 20 rebound performance in a 69-58 loss, UFV’s first of the season.
The host WolfPack prevailed behind a 24 point outing from Taiysa Worsfold, taking advantage of 25 UFV turnovers along the way.
The WolfPack got off to a great start, leading by as many as 12 points in the first quarter and holding a 19-9 advantage at the end of the frame.
But the second quarter was all Cascades, with Wierks leading the way.
She poured in 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the field, and UFV outscored TRU by a 25-12 margin to take a 34-31 lead into halftime.
The WolfPack clawed back in the third quarter, though, and extended the lead as high as 15 points early in the fourth. The Cascades responded with a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 56-50, capped by a Jenika Bannerman (Chilliwack) layup, but TRU pushed the lead back up to double digits and hung on for the win.
“I think our inexperience showed a little bit tonight,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer analyzed. “Thompson Rivers made a big push in the third quarter, and we didn’t really answer that. And we had a few too many mistakes in the fourth quarter.
“But I don’t think all is lost on the game. It’s a lot of great learning experiences tonight for us.”
Wierks finished 10-for-16 from the field and 7-for-13 from the foul line, and fifth-year point guard Celeste Dyck notched 12 points and six assists. Another Chilliwackian, Kaitlyn McDonald, contributed nine points on a trio of three-pointers, but no one else on the team managed more than four points.
In addition to Worsfold’s big night, the WolfPack got double-digit scoring performances from Kassie Colonna (14 points) and Michelle Bos (12 points, 17 rebounds).
“I thought Sarah (Wierks) played with a lot of determination tonight,” said Tuchscherer, whose team was missing co-leading scorer Nataliia Gavryliuk due to injury. “She played like a fifth-year star, and that’s what she is.
“We need some other people to step up their game a little bit – make some plays for us, get to the line.”
Wierks had another dominant performance Saturday.
But WolfPack rookie Michell Bos hit a step-back jump shot with 26.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter, lifting TRU to a 72-70 victory over the Cascades.
The win gave them sole possession of first place in the Explorers Division with a 5-1 record.
The Cascades fell to 4-2 on the season.
“It was an entertaining game for sure – good little runs, players hitting some big shots,” Tuchscherer said. “They just end up hitting a bigger one at the end to come out with the win.”
Wierks notched 25 points and 18 boards. Shayna Litman stepped up in a supporting role with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Dyck and McDonald (3-for-4 from beyond the arc) scored nine points apiece.
Jorri Duxbury and Taiysa Worsfold registered 21 points each for the WolfPack, Kassie Colonna scored 11 points, and Bos had eight points and 10 boards.
The Cascades took a 40-37 lead into halftime on Dyck’s buzzer-beating three-pointer, but the WolfPack locked it down on defence in the third quarter, outscoring UFV 16-10 to take a 53-50 advantage into the final frame.
TRU led by as many as six points in the fourth quarter, but McDonald hit some huge shots down the stretch to keep UFV in it.
Her trey with four minutes left leveled the score 63-63, and after the WolfPack pushed the lead back up to five points, she capped a mini-rally by knocking down a corner triple with 47 seconds left in regulation to tie it up again at 70-70.
But on the ensuing possession, Bos – who had been in foul trouble much of the evening – drilled a long two-point jumper to restore the TRU lead, and they would weather three-point tries by Litman and Katie Brink in the dying seconds to hang on for the win.
“It’s good for us to go through this stuff,” Tuchscherer analyzed. “A lot of players on the floor at the end of the game haven’t been in these situations before. . . . It’s hard for these players to go through this and not get the job done, but you learn from it and you’re better the next day.”
The Cascades basketball teams wrap up their first-semester schedules at home next weekend vs. the MacEwan Griffins.
Games are Friday (some 6 p.m., men 8 pm.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) at the Envision Athletic Centre.
See ufvcascades.ca for more info.